HOUSTON – In recent weeks, Houstonians have seen a sharp rise in people trying to get tested for COVID, along with a surge in new cases.
On Monday, Texas Children’s Hospital released new details about how children are impacted by the omicron variant.
During a news conference, TCH officials said there are currently 70 kids hospitalized with COVID. Also, in the past week, at least 700 infections were reported.
Dr. Jim Versalovic, pathologist-in-chief and COVID-19 Command Center co-Leader at Texas Children’s Hospital, said the majority of the COVID hospitalizations are primarily from the virus or a significant co-factor in why a child is admitted to the hospital.
He wouldn’t say that hospitalized patients coincidentally tested positive after being admitted to the hospital for other reasons, but he did say that the omicron variant is so contagious, that it’s much more common than the flu.
On Monday, TCH also announced its first co-infection of the flu and COVID. According to hospital officials, that patient is currently at home recovering.
Versalovic said even though data is indicating that omicron isn’t as severe as previous variants, that information isn’t helpful for his patients.
On another note, with boosters already being recommended for everyone 16 years of age and older, federal regulators on Monday decided they’re also warranted for 12 to 15-year-olds once enough time has passed since their last dose.
But the move, which comes as classes are restarting after the holidays, isn’t the final step.
A panel with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to decide later this week whether to recommend boosters for the younger teens with a final decision by Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC’s director.
Texas Children Hospital said they’re ready to give the boosters to children 12 to 15 years old once it’s approved.
WATCH: Full Texas Children’s Hospital provides update on children and COVID surge