CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Hospitalization rates for COVID-19 are soaring nationally, but the case number remains smaller in the Coastal Bend.
“What the county reports every day from almost 1,000 to 700 yesterday. That goes along with the number of children who we test here and are positive,” said Dr. Jaime Fergie of Driscoll Children's Hospital.
In the past three weeks, 1,050 children tested positive for COVID-19 locally. And of that total close to half of them were in the last seven days.
Dr. Fergie says most children coming into the emergency room have not been vaccinated.
“Some of these children are what we call incidental findings meaning they came in for something else,” he said.
According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, close to 82,000 children have been hospitalized with COVID-19.
As Fergie explains, the percentage of severe cases is very small and there’s a reason.
“Children who to begin with has a very significant problem," Fergie said. "Chronic medical conditions, multiple underlying conditions.”
Fergie says, as of last Friday, there were seven children hospitalized with COVID-19 at Driscoll Children’s Hospital in South Texas.
Pediatricians like Dr. Eric Baggerman at Amistad Community Health Center are likely to diagnose a child.
“When does someone need to be hospitalized versus when someone just needs to isolate," Baggerman said. "That's the discussion we have."
Baggerman says out of every 10 patients he sees, two will test positive for COVID.
None have ended up in the hospital. But he says he's anxious for those who qualify to get vaccinated.
As of Friday, 3,205 children ages 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated in Nueces County.
“There are those who even though they do better do not do well," Baggerman said. "And I want to make sure we protect those children."
In fact, Baggerman says that applies to defending yourself against other illnesses like the flu.
“This is a time in the year when the pediatric volume is very high in general because this is viral season for other virus as well,” he said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director updated its school guidance for kindergarten through 12th grade for U.S. schools to isolate after infection or quarantine after exposure for at least five days for those who are vaccinated or unvaccinated.