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My daughter responded well to treatment

My daughter responded well to treatment

My daughter responded well to treatment

AUSTIN, TX — A Texas family said the availability of beds in a pediatric intensive care unit is sparse, claiming they were turned away temporarily due to the shortage caused by the coronavirus and the surge of delta variant cases among children.

Kevin Karaffa, the father of a 22-month-old girl who had to be hospitalized with a viral respiratory infection not related to COVID-19, told KXAN in Austin his daughter was originally turned away from the Dell Children's Medical Center PICU due to it having no space. The girl did get one of the last beds available after another patient was discharged. But three hours later, another family encountered the same problem, Karaffa said.

"My daughter responded well to treatment, so they sent us to the recovery floor this morning since Dell Children's needed the ICU bed so badly," Karaffa told KXAN. "This is scary, and I think Austinites ought to know that, just like Dallas' Judge Jenkins said: If your child needs critical care, [they] will have to wait for another child to get better or die before a PICU bed will be available in Travis County."

Patch has reached out to Dell Children's Medical Center for an update on its PICU bed capacity. Officials had not immediately responded to KXAN's request, the news station reported.

Amanda Norwood, medical director for the Williamson County & Cities Health District, told the Leander Independent School District there was only one open PICU bed in the entire 11-county trauma service area, according to KXAN.

Find out what's happening in Austin with free, real-time updates from Patch.
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The problem in central Texas is indicative of the rising number of coronavirus cases among children as many schools across the country are returning to full, in-person learning. Children younger than 12 years old remain ineligible for the coronavirus vaccines that gained emergency authorization use from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration months ago.

Texas joined a growing list of states that are seeing record numbers of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in a surge that is overwhelming doctors and nurses and afflicting more children, according to a report from The Associated Press.

The state reported more COVID-19 patients in its hospitals on Wednesday than at any other time since the pandemic began. At least six other states — Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Hawaii, Mississippi and Oregon — have already broken their hospitalization records.

Coronavirus patients in rural areas have been sent to hospitals as far as several states away due to the lack of available hospital beds, according to another recent AP report.

In Texas, roughly 56 percent of the population is fully vaccinated — above the national average — but Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has banned mask and vaccine mandates. Many counties and school districts have defied his mask ban.

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