More children are showing up at the Austin area hospitals with COVID-19 than ever before

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Health leaders are painting a grim picture of the impact the omicron variant has on children, saying more children are showing up at the Austin area’s COVID-19 hospitals than ever before.

Douglas Havron, executive director of the Capital Area of ​​Texas Regional Advisory Council (CATRAC), which largely oversees hospital operations in the Austin area, said during the peak of the delta increase that they had a record number of 36 children admitted to area hospitals. . On Friday, they reported 46 admissions.

Approximately 90% of children admitted to pediatric hospitals were unvaccinated, which has “been the trend for the last many weeks,” explained Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County Health Authority.

The Community transmission rate (CTR) in Central Texas is at a 7-day moving average of 1,896 cases per year. 100,000. With this level of transfer, the CDC recommends that schools not be held in person or that sports and other leisure activities be canceled.

Right now in Austin-Travis County, the health authority has ruled that everyone on local school campuses and buses over the age of two is required to wear a mask during step 3 and up. Austin-Travis County is currently in Phase 5 COVID-19 risk-based guidelines.

“Childcare programs take care of our youngest members of the community who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated,” said Donna Sundstrom, Austin Public Health Assistant Director of Community Services. “Working families need our entire community to take the steps we know work to reduce community transfer so that child care programs can remain staffed and open and parents can continue to work.”

Schools in central Texas have already been forced to close their doors in some cases due to staff shortages and COVID-19 outbreaks.

You can find the list of school closures here.

Who is eligible?

Anyone aged five and over is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine right now. Federal officials approved a child-sized vaccine for 5 to 11-year-olds in November.

Nevertheless, APH reports that only 26% of local children aged 5-11 have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“This is an important time to get their child vaccinated,” Cassandra DeLeon, APH’s chief administrative officer for disease prevention and health promotion pleaded with the parents on Friday. She noted that many parents locally had said they would wait to see how the rollout of the vaccine went for children.

“We have now delivered millions of doses of vaccine to children in a safe way,” she said.

Anyone over the age of 12 is eligible to receive a booster shot at least five months after their first round of shooting.

You can find a COVID-19 vaccine on the Austin Public Health website here.

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