5 things for Houstonians to know for Monday, August 9

11-month-old girl with COVID-19 airlifted from Houston to hospital 170 miles away in Temple

Here are things to know for Monday, August 9:

1. Man arrested in killings of 3 women on South Padre Island

Police have arrested a 23-year-old man in the killings of three woman at a home in the Texas resort community of South Padre Island.

Officers were called to a “family disturbance” at a condominium in the island city around 10 p.m. Saturday and arrived to find the women shot dead, police said in a statement.

Police said the suspect fled the scene of the shooting but later turned himself in and was arrested in the neighboring community of Port Isabel. Police did not identify the man, who they said is being held on South Padre Island pending formal charges.

The dead women were a 46, 47 and 65 years old and from the Houston area, police said.

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2. Nurse shortage meets COVID-19 surge at Houston hospital

A surge in COVID-19 patients, due to the highly contagious Delta variant, is creating problems for hospitals all across Texas.

Locally, the Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital says they are overwhelmed and need more nurses.

Just a week ago, the hospital reported patients waiting 24 hours in their emergency rooms before being transferred to in-patient rooms. And at one point, 130 people were waiting to be seen last Sunday.

Earlier this week, an 11-month-old girl with COVID-19 who was initially admitted to the Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital had to be transported to a hospital 170 miles away in Temple. Officials said the transport was needed since LBJ doesn’t offer inpatient pediatric care and none of the major pediatric hospitals in the Houston area had beds available.

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3. Officials note surge in pediatric COVID-19 cases as ICU beds become limited

The Texas Medical Center is reporting a rise in COVID cases with hospitalizations up over 400 percent this past month.

The TMC said they haven’t seen any type of surge since the peak of the pandemic in the summer of 2020, and many of the patients are young children who are unvaccinated.

“We have been seeing a huge number of kids coming in with Covid-19 infections and they are of all ages, from newborn to any age possible,” said Dr. Ali Naqvi a Pediatrician with UT Health.

According to reports, all five Houston Pediatric wards are full.

Earlier this week, 11-month Ava Ramirez contracted the virus and had to be airlifted to a hospital 150 miles away because there were no beds available.

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4. Fauci hopeful COVID vaccines get full OK by FDA within weeks

The U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said Sunday that he was hopeful the Food and Drug Administration will give full approval to the coronavirus vaccine by month’s end and predicted the potential move will spur a wave of vaccine mandates in the private sector as well as schools and universities.

The FDA has only granted emergency-use approval of the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, but the agency is expected to soon give full approval to Pfizer.

The Biden administration has stated that the federal government will not mandate vaccinations beyond the federal workforce, but is increasingly urging state and local governments as well as businesses to consider such mandates. Fauci, who is President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said “mandates at the local level need to be done” to help curb the spread of the virus.

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5. Texas won’t require schools to notify parents of COVID-19 cases

Texas school districts will not be required to conduct contact tracing this year if a student contracts COVID-19, according to new guidelines issued by the Texas Education Agency this week.

The agency said a district should notify parents if it learns of a student who has been a close contact to someone with the virus. But with the relaxation of contact tracing, broad notifications will not be mandatory.

The TEA announced its rules in public health guidance issued Thursday. While districts must report positive cases to their local health departments and the state, the TEA said contact tracing will not be required because of “the data from 2020-21 showing very low COVID-19 transmission rates in a classroom setting and data demonstrating lower transmission rates among children than adults.”

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