Hospitalizations of children tripled in recent weeks, East Texas health officials say

Local News

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Hospitalization numbers are increasing across the state of Texas, and children’s health care facilities are being hit the hardest.

An unusually high number of children have been hospitalized this summer, according to an East Texas health official.

The number of children hospitalized with COVID-19 in the United States hit a record high of just over 1,900 on Saturday, as hospitals across the South get stretched to capacity.

Valerie Smith, an East Texas pediatrician with Texas Medical Association, says most pediatric beds are full in Texas.

“Unfortunately we are seeing cases of COVID-19 increase across the country including hospitalizations among children have more than tripled in the last couple of weeks. In addition, we’re seeing an unseasonably high number of children needing to be hospitalized for RSV or respiratory syncytial virus,” said Smith.

Hospitals are running out of room for these sick children.

“We’re seeing it to some degree all over the country, but in Texas particularly we know that things are hard,” Smith said.

Some ICU’s are forced to turn away patients because they don’t have enough staff members to care for more children.

“They may physically have a bed available for a child, but if they don’t have nurses to staff that bed then they cannot provide care for that child,” said Smith.

There is not a pediatric ICU in the Tyler region, so most of our children are cared for in Dallas Fort-Worth.

However, health experts say that there were no pediatric ICU beds available in the North Texas area last week.

“I do know that the last patient that we had that had to be transferred, had to be sent out of state because there was not a bed in our region here in Texas that could care for that child,” said Smith.

Smith says she hasn’t seen anything like this in her 20 year long career as a pediatrician.

“We all have to work together to reduce the demand on our hospitals right now to ensure that when our children get sick from any number of causes, be it COVID-19 or a car accident, that we have the resources to care for them,” said Smith.

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