DALLAS - There's new hope in the battle against COVID-19 in Texas schools.
After the highest ever pediatric case count of the entire pandemic here in North Texas, positive cases are leveling off.
But doctors warn we don't know how long we could be in the plateau, or how many could be infected at the top of the curve.
The Dallas Medical Society reports the amount of new positive COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals is trickling down slowly.
Meanwhile, hospitalizations are still battling little to no bed space.
"The burnout rate among the nursing staff and physicians is really out of control," pediatrician Dr. Marcial Oquendo said.
Dr. Oquendo said he’s looking for any sign of relief.
Now, in mid-September, the Dallas pediatrician said COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to show they’re leveling off in most counties.
"What we have seen from most other countries, with the delta spike, it goes up quickly and comes down. We just didn’t know how many people were going to be affected in the area under the curve," he explained.
According to the DFW Hospital Council, hospitalization numbers in North Texas have been hovering around 3,500 for the past two weeks.
The vast majority of COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated.
Available ICU beds in Dallas County remain in the teens, with the death toll rising.
As of Sunday, Dallas and Tarrant counties together surpassed 8,000 COVID-19 deaths.
Also on Sunday, Texas reported 272 pediatric COVID-19 patients, with 111 of them being in North Texas.
A slight decrease from last week’s pandemic high of 131 North Texas pediatric COVID-19 patients.
Dr. Oquendo did notice a change in the number of positive cases in Texas public schools.
"I am cautiously optimistic that this will show the beginning of the decline and peak of COVID and the delta variant in schools," he said. "We don’t know for sure. Could it be a blip in the data? Hopefully we have seen the peak."
During the last week of August, COVID-19 in the classroom skyrocketed, according to the state.
A pandemic high of more than 35,000 Texas students tested positive.
Following the first week of September, that number was cut in half to 13,000 positive cases, which is still higher than any week during last school year.
"At some point, we are going to have another spike, whether it’s another variant or something else. So we need to protect the kids and the community because this is how it spreads," Dr. Oquendo said.
Gabriel Williams got the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Oak Cliff Sunday. He admitted he was hesitant.
"I felt like I was in a good place to pull the trigger and get the vaccine," he said.
But he said he couldn’t wait any longer, worried his son and wife would be in danger.
"I just want to be safe, whether it’s my family or someone else’s," he said.
Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation said ages 18 and under are still making up close to a quarter of the new positive cases.
Meanwhile, across North Texas, children’s hospitals are still battling with zero pediatric ICU beds available as of Sunday.