AUSTIN, Texas - With the Fall 2021 semester getting underway, some are concerned about an increase of Covid cases in children.
"It’s not just Covid, when schools open we always see a surge in viral illnesses and mental illnesses," said Dr. Iyer, chief medical officer at Dell Children’s Medical Center.
Dr. Iyer said she has been seeing more young people in the ICU with Covid compared to prior surges.
She said some of her patients come in for another reason and happen to test positive for Covid. Others are coming in with Covid-related complications.
Most of the more serious cases are older, teenagers, and all unvaccinated. She hasn’t seen any deaths in the pediatric unit but has noticed an increase in the severity of the illness.
Despite some hospitals reporting staffing shortages, Dr. Iyer did express confidence in their ability to treat patients.
"We have a surge capacity that has been rolled out, so we are very good with staffing and capacity at this point," she said.
However, in addition to Covid, Dr. Iyer said they are seeing a surge in other viral infections - like RSV.
RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, can result in cold-like symptoms but can have more serious effects in young children. Hospitals are reporting unseasonably early cases.
"The combination of RSV and Covid together has certainly proven to be very, very challenging, especially because that's where we'll see our younger kids who get Covid have trouble when they have both," said Dr. Seth Kaplan, president of the Texas Pediatric Society, in an interview with FOX 4 Dallas. "On that note, we're worried about what's coming later in the season when influenza makes its comeback."
Earlier this week, Gov. Abbott announced more than 2,500 medical staff would be deployed to hospitals statewide to help with the increasing number of Covid-19 patients.