11-month-old flown into Temple after Houston pediatrics experience high occupancy rates


HOUSTON/TEMPLE, Texas — An 11-month-old girl who contracted COVID-19 was flown to Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Hospital after Harris Health in Houston was not able to find a vacant bed in any of the pediatric hospitals.

“I think the story of children and Delta variant is really yet to be told,” says McLane Chief Information Officer Dr. Dominic Lucia. “We’re sort of at the beginning of it. But what I can tell you, we’re seeing, is much more kids infected.”

A helicopter brought her to McLane due to a high amount of bed occupancy, and Dr. Lucia says this could become a problem for them in the near future.

“What we’re seeing just due to the spread within the community, amongst the unvaccinated, we’re also seeing the pediatric population spike up a little bit,” he said. “They haven’t used a significant portion of our pediatric ICU beds, but we are, with cases like Ava, seeing that potential increase. And that gives us all concern.”

After Ava arrived at McLane, she received breathing support – but has now been taken off the ventilator, as she is beginning to recover.

Although Dr. Lucia says the case numbers in children are still low, there is a chance for them to rise as the Delta variant spreads – and those who are able to get the vaccine are choosing not to.

“Getting the vaccination is so important, because what happens is if the virus and Delta variants and what other variants are to come continues to spread rampantly, the people that aren’t able to get the vaccine like Ava become vulnerable, and are at more risk,” Dr. Lucia said. “And although kids are not usually, nearly as affected from COVID like adults, it certainly does still happen.”

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