COVID-19 Delta variant putting younger children in the ICU, hospital officials say

CHRISTUS Health has 4-year-old patient on ventilator, chief medical officer says

COVID-19 Delta variant putting younger children in the ICU, officials say

SAN ANTONIO – COVID-19 cases are soaring, and with the new Delta variant, the threat level has become severe in San Antonio, according to local health care officials.

Some in the younger age demographic are getting seriously ill, health officials say.

On Wednesday, during a COVID-19 briefing with city and county officials, leaders announced that an 11-month-old with COVID-19 was admitted to the ICU at University Hospital. Officials said there is also a 4-year-old on a ventilator in the ICU at the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio.

“We had a few newborns that were impacted from a maternal disease that was transferred to them,” said Dr. Charles Hankins, chief medical officer of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health.

Hankins said that in previous surges, at most, 2%-3% of child hospitalizations were coronavirus-related. The majority of those cases were kids in their teens with pre-existing health conditions.

Now, 10% of child hospitalizations are coronavirus-related, with half of those young patients in the ICU. Hankins said the Delta variant is also hospitalizing children without any underlying medical conditions.

“It definitely seems to be attacking these children differently, so more aggressive. So it not only spreads more easily but for the population of children, it also seems to be more aggressive,” Hankins said.

San Antonio has 63% of eligible people fully vaccinated. Hankins said that number needs to go up so child hospitalizations can go down.

With the school year right around the corner, Hankins fears there will be more child hospitalizations. He said kids should still attend class because they learn better that way, but they should be masked up and socially distanced.

About the Authors:

John Paul Barajas is a reporter at KSAT 12. Previously, he worked at KRGV 5 in the Rio Grande Valley. He has a degree from the University of Houston. In his free time, he likes to get a workout in, spend time on the water and check out good eats and drinks.