Dual surge: Houston doctors see increase in children hospitalizations due to COVID-19 and RSV

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, so is the concern inside Texas Children's Hospital.

"We are dealing with, really, a dual surge here. Two respiratory viruses that have converged in the summer of 2021," said Dr. Jim Versalovic, the interim pediatrician-in-chief and pathologist-in-chief at Texas Children's Hospital.

Those two viruses he says are respiratory syncytial virus, known as RSV, and another COVID-19 surge.

Versalovic said COVID's delta variant makes up 80% of their new cases and COVID-19 hospitalizations are climbing.

SEE ALSO: RSV and COVID spikes clashing, especially in small kids, doctors say

"We've seen that number increase to greater than 20, and now greater than 30, hospitalized children and adolescents, which is notable for any children's hospital," he said.

It's just behind their January peak, when more than 40 children were hospitalized from COVID-19.

"Some of these cases have been due to severe COVID-19 pneumonia or acute respiratory distress. More than a third of our cases of hospitalized children due to COVID-19 have required some form of critical care," said Versalovic.

The Mays School in Bellaire is one of the first to close its doors amid the summer surge, after a rapid COVID spread among staff and families.

Reporting 12 cases in the last two days, owner Jessi Mays said it's more than what they saw over the last year.

SEE ALSO: Houston family thankful after RSV recovery in 20-month-old twin boys

Mays told ABC13 that every single adult who tested positive was fully vaccinated. They're now requiring all staff, students and parents to get COVID tested or quarantine for 14 days.

After deep cleaning, the school plans to reopen on Aug. 9.

Across town, neighborhood pediatrician Dr. Mary Krueger said they are extending their hours to meet the demand for sick patients with RSV.

"[It's] really almost unheard of to see this much RSV in the summertime," said Krueger.

She said RSV symptoms include labored breathing, cough, congestion, mucus and fever.

RSV is common among young children but can be scary for our youngest population because there is no vaccine for this virus.

"We've definitely had to send some babies to the hospital," said Krueger. "Babies can't get to the point where they have difficulty breathing. They may end up in the hospital needing respiratory support. Some of them may end up intubated and on ventilators," said Krueger.

They ask all teens and adults who can get vaccinated to do so and help build protection around children who are not yet eligible.

As children prepare to head back to crowded classrooms, these experts are asking all parents of children three years and older to have them wear masks, especially children who are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

For the latest COVID-19 updates, follow Shelley Childers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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