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Delta variant filling up hospital beds in south Texas

More children are coming down with the illness that is ravaging the country.

SAN ANTONIO — As the number of COVID-positive patients in area hospitals continues to skyrocket, health officials are sounding the alarm for children. 

For most kids, school begins in about three weeks, so there is a very short window of time to get the Delta variant of the coronavirus under control.

"We're clearly seeing a younger patient population in the hospital, people in their 20s, their 30s, their 40s," said Dr. Robert Leverence, Chief Medical Officer for UT Health Physicians at UT Health San Antonio.

Metro Health's latest report showed 727 COVID-positive patients in hospitals. That is close to four times the number that were in hospitals just three weeks ago. The number in the ICU of 205 is more than three times what it was three weeks ago. The number on ventilators, five times the number of three weeks ago. And hospitals are seeing more and more children. 

"In the last COVID wave, the oldest person we had in University Hospital was 18-years-old. We have one in the hospital right now that is 11-months-old," said Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff.  

As of July 7, one million people in Bexar County were fully vaccinated and 1.2 million had received one dose. The latest report on July 8 saw a 10% uptick with 1.1 million fully vaccinated and 1.3 million receiving at least one dose. Those higher numbers are a good sign, but Dr. Leverence says because of the Delta variant, we need them to go up faster to get us to herd immunity and stop the variants. 

"Because Delta's more infectious, I've heard we need 90% herd immunity in that realm. So in other words, everybody who can get vaccinated needs to get vaccinated," Dr. Leverence added.  

Dr. Leverence also says if you have any type of injury or illness besides COVID to try to take it to your primary care doctor or an urgent care clinic because hospitals are so full and at a critical level.