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Austin Public Health releases pediatric COVID-19 hospitalization data as students head back to school

From July 1 to Aug. 15, officials say 74 pediatric patients were admitted to local hospitals.

AUSTIN, Texas — In its briefing with Austin and Travis County officials on Tuesday, Austin Public Health released data concerning pediatric COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, showing an increase in recent months compared to the start of the year.

APH provided the following totals on pediatric cases in the given time frames:

  • Less than 1 year old: 291 cases in March-December 2020; 347 in January-Aug. 16, 2021
  • 1-9 years old: 1,899 cases in March-December 2020; 2,562 in January-Aug. 16, 2021
  • 10-18 years old: 3,025 cases in March-December 2020; 3,559 in January-Aug. 16, 2021  

Here are the confirmed cases reported to APH by month in Travis County:

January

  • Less than 1 year old: 135 cases
  • 1-9 years old: 918 cases
  • 10-17 years old: 1,299 cases

February

  • Less than 1 year old: 43 cases
  • 1-9 years old: 354 cases
  • 10-17 years old: 502 cases

March

  • Less than 1 year old: 16 cases
  • 1-9 years old: 172 cases
  • 10-17 years old: 243 cases

April

  • Less than 1 year old: 26 cases
  • 1-9 years old: 183 cases
  • 10-17 years old: 271 cases

May

  • Less than 1 year old: 9 cases
  • 1-9 years old: 93 cases
  • 10-17 years old: 147 cases

June

  • Less than 1 year old: 14 cases
  • 1-9 years old: 65 cases
  • 10-17 years old: 70 cases

July

  • Less than 1 year old: 60 cases
  • 1-9 years old: 524 cases
  • 10-17 years old: 717 cases

August

  • Less than 1 year old: 44 cases
  • 1-9 years old: 253 cases
  • 10-17 years old: 310 cases

From July 1 to Aug. 15, officials said there have been 74 patients under the age of 18 admitted to the hospital for COVID-19. Of those, 21 were taken to the ICU. Only one was on a ventilator.

"That patient's been reported as a child that has some preexisting conditions that caused this child to be more susceptible to severe illness from COVID-19," said Austin Medical Director Dr. Desmar Walkes.

Of those admitted, 58.1% were in the 5-17 range, 24.3% were less than 1, and 17.6% were 1-4.

As of APH's report, officials said there were about 15-17 staffed ICU beds available for pediatric patients. At this time, only three patients under the age of 18 were in the hospital.

"If we look at the numbers now, we're seeing a large number of pediatric cases, again, occurring when masks are not mandated and when children are not yet in school," said Dr. Walkes. "... so the fact that we're having this increase in pediatric cases now ... we're really concerned that we need to bring back our mask cues for our kids, particularly to protect those who are not able to receive vaccinations"

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