Critical pediatric COVID-19 cases quadruple at RGV hospital

CW39

EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Texas has surpassed 10 thousand COVID hospitalizations for the third time during the pandemic.

The previous two surges in hospitalizations came in June 2020 and winter 2021, before vaccines were available at every pharmacy.

This time, it’s unvaccinated people that are bearing the brunt of the new hospitalizations.

“Now it’s completely different, so it’s upsetting to see that,” said Dr. Robert Martinez, the chief medical officer for DHR Health in Edinburg, Texas.

Texas is once again averaging over 100,000 new cases of COVID-19 every day, but Martinez explained to ValleyCentral that for the first time children are getting infected at a high rate.

Martinez said that DHR Health was seeing a “three, four, fivefold increase in the number of admissions” at their hospital compared to the previous lows in June.

While the previous two surges in new cases had hospitalizations that were similar and even higher than the current amount, children were a very small percent of cases that ended up being hospitalized.

Because of the delta variant, Martinez said DHR Health is “definitely seeing more” pediatric cases that need to be housed in the ICU.

“At any one time, we may have three to four patients in our ICU due to COVID, whereas before, maybe one would end up in there.”

Dr. Martinez told ValleyCentral that he believed that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is mutating faster than diseases normally do.

He added that for most diseases, it would typically take “10 years, 20 years, 15 years” for a disease “to learn how to beat us. This virus is learning how to do that every couple of weeks.”

During a press conference in early August, Dr. Ivan Melendez, the Hidalgo County Health Authority, called the current state of the pandemic a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

“[The SARS-CoV-2 virus is] going to get smarter, and every time it gets smarter, it’s going to hit people that it finds that we cannot protect.” That group is currently unvaccinated people, which includes children under the age of 12, who do not have a vaccine approved for their use yet.

Martinez said it was “terrible” that children are being impacted by the current variant of the virus.

With school starting soon, Dr. Martinez said parents need to step up and protect their children.

“Adults, get vaccinated in their household, the less likely they are to pass on the disease, the less likely your child is to get it.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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