FORT WORTH, Texas — Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth reported 13 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 on Tuesday, including five children in intensive care, as case rates at the hospital have climbed to levels not seen since February.
Cook Children's said it is seeing, on average, more than 60 positive cases of COVID-19 per day, the highest number since February, according to the latest data from hospital officials.
The hospital's seven-day average positivity rate was at 8.6%, officials said.
Cook Children's is urging parents to have their kids take COVID-19 precautions as they head into the school year, including getting vaccinated (if eligible) and wearing a mask in school.
The vaccine is eligible to children 12 and older.
Dr. Marc Mazade, medical director of infection control at prevention at Cook Children's, urged parents to get vaccinated and have their children wear a mask in school.
"We have a huge hole in our net because people are not getting vaccinated," Mazade said. "The Delta variant is ripping through the unimmunized population like wildfire."
Mazade could not say if any of the Cook Children's patients are on a ventilator. He said their symptoms have ranged from severe respiratory distress to high fever to chills and headaches. Some children, Mazade said, have trouble walking to the restroom because they feel so exhausted.
Mazade said he agreed with previous guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that vaccinated people do not have to wear a mask. But the reality, Mazade said, is that too many unvaccinated people aren't wearing a mask.
Across North Texas, hospitals are seeing more younger patients hospitalized with COVID-19, as the Delta variant continues to spread, officials said this week.
Across all age groups, North Texas COVID-19 hospitalizations are similar to early March levels, before the vaccine was available to most teens and all adults.
The Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council said on Monday that Dallas County had 336 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. In Tarrant County, there were 401. In Collin County, there were 162 hospitalized, and Denton County had 53 hospitalized.
Mazade released a 10-point guide this week for students to return safely to school in August.
The recommendations included:
- Making sure your child is up to date on routine vaccinations against illnesses such as measles, pertussis and mumps.
- Wearing a mask in school, if needed. Guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have advocated for masking in schools.
- Getting vaccinated if you're an eligible child or adult. The Cook Children's guidance points out that COVID-19 has been shown to spread more efficiently from adults and teens to younger children more so than the reverse.
- For schools, coordinating vaccination events with orientation or "meet-the-teacher" night as an added opportunity to get vaccinated.
- Continuing to promote social distancing in classrooms and hallways, when possible.
Read Dr. Mazade's full recommendations here.