North Texas pediatric hospitals seeing spike in COVID-19 cases among kids

Pediatric hospitals in North Texas are once again seeing a concerning rise in COVID-19 cases.

Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth is reporting case numbers at rates not seen since February. 

Cook Children's has 13 hospitalized children with COVID right now, while Children's Health has 16 between its Dallas and Plano locations. 

While the numbers are small compared with the population, it is the increase that has doctors concerned.

With some children experiencing severe COVID symptoms, Cook Children’s Director of Infection Control Dr. Marc Mazade says unvaccinated adults need to do their part to protect our youngest vulnerable population. 

"The key to getting schools to stay open is to vaccinate all parents, adults and eligible children as soon as possible," he said.

The delta variant is causing a huge pediatric surge that is similar to November 2020, right before the massive spike at Christmas time. 

"We're seeing that with delta variant is ripping through the unimmunized population like wildfire," the doctor said.

Dr. Mazade says parents need to make sure their kids are up to date on other vaccines after many missed well visits during the pandemic. 

"It doesn't take much for herd immunity to drop off," he said. "We could have a measles outbreak real quickly."

Cook Children's recommends that all kids wear masks in school, which is now reinforced by the revised CDC guidelines issued Tuesday.

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But without the masking requirement that many schools had last year, Dr. Mazade says it is up to parents to model that behavior for children. He says it is still important for children to return to school, but some will need to be extra careful. 

"When we see COVID- 19 in children, it tends to be older children with underlying issues like hypertension, diabetes, obesity is very common, underlying lung diseases," he said.

Dr. Mazade says when it comes to the vaccine for kids over 12 and adults, the benefits far outweigh the risk of going unvaccinated and then getting a severe case of COVID-19.