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Pediatric Hospitalizations Continue To Rise Across Texas As COVID-19 Spreads Among Students

Students wearing masks work in a classroom.
Jordan Vonderhaar
Students wearing masks work at their desks on the first day of school at Travis High School on Aug. 17.

The number of pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations in Texas continues to surpass previous peaks compared to any point during the pandemic, according to state data.

As of Tuesday, 284 pediatric COVID-19 patients were admitted in hospitals across the state, 86 of which were in the Houston area, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Dr. Luis Ostrosky, an infectious disease expert at UT Health and Memorial Hermann, said the virus was no longer solely affecting children with compromised immune systems.

“We are now seeing healthy kids, healthy teenagers with severe COVID,” he said. “We’re seeing babies and that is very disturbing.”

Statewide pediatric cases have increased by about 20% compared to mid August, just before school began.

Across the state of Texas, public school districts on Aug. 22 reported 14,033 positive COVID-19 cases among students, according to the latest state data. That number was at 4,976 on Aug. 15 — a 182% jump over the course of one week.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued executive order GA-38 in July, banning local municipalities and school districts from implementing mask mandates, prompting local officials to push back with legal challenges against the state.

At least 43 school districts across the state are currently defying that order, including HISD, according to Attorney General Ken Paxton's Office.

Additional reporting by Matt Harab.
Copyright 2021 Houston Public Media News 88.7. To see more, visit Houston Public Media News 88.7.

Lucio Vasquez
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