BEAUMONT, Texas — Kirbyville Consolidated Independent School District joins dozens of other Texas school districts taking a day off to sanitize and clean their facilities as the omicron variant continues to spread.
A Beaumont pediatrician said the state is breaking records for new cases in children and the number of kids hospitalized.
Dr. Ramona Ataya Dakour said she has had more than two positive cases a day.
A chunk of those patients testing positive are too young to be vaccinated, however. The majority of children in Jefferson County who are eligible still haven't gotten the vaccine.
“There were a couple of days where our positivity rates were like 60-70%,” Dakour said.
As students fill the classroom after the holiday break, COVID-19 cases in children are hitting pandemic records.
Right now, more than 75 children are being treated with COVID-19 in Texas Children's Hospital in Houston.
Some of those kids are from Southeast Texas.
“The majority of kids who are in the hospital due to COVID are unvaccinated overwhelmingly,” Dakour said.
Now with two contagious strains infecting children quickly, Dakour said getting vaccinated is crucial
“Unfortunately a majority of my patients are under 5,” Dakour said.
But children who are under the age of 5 cannot get the vaccine.
Even still, the majority of kids in Jefferson County eligible still haven't gotten their shots.
Only 3.76% of kids ages 5-11 are fully vaccinated. Compare that to residents 12 to 64. 50% of that age group are fully vaccinated.
The population most vaccinated is adults 65 and older as 76.89% of them are fully vaccinated.
“It's such a well-tolerated vaccine better than the flu shot,” Dakour said.
Clinical trials are underway for children aged six months to under 5 years old.
But in the meantime, these are severe COVID symptoms parents should watch out for.
“If they're vomiting and not able to keep anything down if they're showing any signs of dehydration shortness of breath they're retracting, they're breathing quickly,” Dakour said.
That's when it's time to seek medical care.
Dakour said mild symptoms can be treated at home using Motrin or Tylenol for comfort.
She suggests using saline and suctioning for babies and cough medicine for older kids.
Dakour also advises tighter face coverings in public or surrounding your kids with fully vaccinated people to protect them from highly contagious strains.