AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin health leaders think the peak of the omicron variant COVID-19 surge is over, but pediatric cases are still on the rise.
During a 10 a.m. media Q&A Friday, Austin Travis County Health Authority Desmar Walkes stated that it’s encouraging to see omicron case numbers decreasing, but it’s important to stay vigilant in the battle against COVID-19.
Dr. Sarmistha Hauger, a pediatric infectious disease specialist for Dell Children’s, stated that more younger children are being admitted with COVID-19 infections, specifically 30% of cases are in the age range of 0-4 years old. Dr. Hauger said that the difference with treating children with COVID-19 is that many medications are unavailable for children under 5 years old. Children under 5-years old who contract COVID-19 are still at risk of developing MIS-C 2-6 weeks after their initial infection.
Cassandra DeLeon, APF Chief Administrative Officer for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division says that over 71% of the community is vaccinated, however, 200,000 remain unvaccinated. She stated that people who can get the vaccine can protect those that can’t get the vaccine in the 0-4 age group.
According to Austin-Travis County COVID-19 dashboard data updated Jan. 27, the 7-day average of hospitalizations continues to decline and is now at 103, down from a peak of 128 on Jan. 20. The community transmission rate is still in the high category at 1,159 infections per 100,000 people, and the positivity rate is 29.8%.
A subvariant of omicron, dubbed BA.2, has been detected in Texas, but health leaders say if a person contracts omicron, the leftover antibodies should be enough to fight the subvariant. The subvariant was first detected in Houston, health leaders said.
APH and Travis County are partnering to hold free COVID-19 vaccination clinics Jan. 28-31 all over the county.
KXAN will live stream the briefing in this story, the KXAN News app and on KXAN’s Facebook page.