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Baby with COVID-19, in need of an ICU bed, was airlifted to a hospital 150 miles away

Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 5:52 AM MDT
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HOUSTON (KTRK) - In a sign that the delta variant is affecting more children on a daily basis, a baby in Texas has contracted COVID-19, and she had to be airlifted to a hospital 150 miles away because there were no ICU beds for her at the pediatric hospital in Houston.

In video provided by Harris Health, an 11-month-old little girl is put on a medical transport chopper Thursday morning and sent to a hospital in Temple, 150 miles away.

“We actually initiated a transfer request ... for a higher level of care, of pediatric patients, and we were unable to identify a facility in Houston,” said Patricia Darnauer of LBJ Hospital.

She said her staff called all five major pediatric hospital systems in the greater Houston area, and none would take a transfer patient.

While that doesn’t mean there are zero beds, it’s clear the COVID-19 surge is straining resources.

“I don’t have the details for each facility, I’m sure each have a different criteria for when they would accept or deny a patient,” Darnauer said.

There are the many factors that’s contributing to a pediatric bed shortage. First and foremost, the COVID-19 delta variant is putting more kids in hospitals.

In addition, there’s an increase, doctors said, of respiratory syncytial virus or RSV.

There’s also typical summer childhood injuries like falling off a bike and breaking an arm or a leg, as well as back to school health checks.

While every child’s situation is different, for today it meant that an 11-month-old little girl is getting her COVID-19 treatment 150 miles away.

“Now we have many patients, many patients every day. We are back beyond our pre-pandemic volumes at LBJ,” Darnauer said.

So what can worried parents do? Get them vaccinated if they’re eligible.

Children not old enough to be vaccinated should wear masks when they are indoors or with groups of people.

Copyright 2021 KTRK via CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.