AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Public Health reported 93 babies have tested positive for COVID-19 between April 9 and July 22 in Travis County.
KXAN investigators asked local counties for a breakdown of cases, after Nueces County in Corpus Christi reported 85 infants tested positive for the virus.
Hays County has reported three positive cases in babies since March. Bastrop County has not responded to KXAN’s request for information.
Williamson County said it has had 97 positive cases since March among kids up to 5-years-old. A county spokesperson said the number is too small to release under 1 year for health information protection reasons.
“I think since the recommendations to test newborns in the hospital to COVID-positive moms went into effect, you know a little over two months ago, we have been seeing more newborns test positive,” explained Dr. Leighton Ellis, pediatrician at North Austin Pediatrics.
Dr. Ellis said they haven’t treated any infants yet for the coronavirus, but they are seeing more kids test positive.
“1-year-olds, 2-year-olds that came in, and usually the situation is they have a cold, maybe they had a parent contact, and you check them and lo and behold, they’re surprised that they’re positive,” said Dr. Ellis. “Most babies are going to be okay if they get this, but you never know if you’re going to be that one case that gets really sick.”
According to the Department of State Health Services, there are 131 positive cases in children 1 and younger statewide out of more than 30,000 completed case investigations.
KXAN investigator Arezow Doost asked why the state’s numbers don’t reflect what counties are reporting.
“We don’t have that level of detail on all cases since we rely on the case reports, and local health department numbers will be more up to date for their areas,” explained Lyndsey Rosales with Texas Department of State Health Services.
Dr. Ellis said better tracking would provide more information about COVID-19’s impact, especially on babies and children.
She encouraged parents to get babies tested if they have been exposed to someone with the virus.