Officials tackling pediatric COVID needs among rise in cases

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 9:57 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - Week two of in-person instruction has already resulted in nearly 200 COVID positive students.

The rise in cases is lighting a fire under officials and medical experts to address the healthcare needs of our underserved community.

One of the major issues: the lack of medical resources for our youth.

It looks as though the already medically undeserved community of Laredo will continue to be just that, even in the midst of a crisis.

“Our hands are tied, we gotta fend for ourselves especially when we hear that there is no resources coming from the state of Texas for staffing for two weeks or longer.”

Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz says with no help on the way and hospital transfers being denied, the next step is to address the problem within.

“We tasked the CEO’s of our two major hospitals to come up with an immediate plan... to in essence incorporate immediate needs.”

Immediate needs include the creation of a pediatric intensive care unit, especially as cases among the school population increase.

According to Laredo health authority Doctor Victor Trevino, Laredo not only needs equipment to handle pediatric ICU patients, but also highly specialized staff to manage it.

“Eight nurses and at least two intensivists. That is more or less what the initial need is. That will probably start with three or four ICU intensive care beds.”

Trevino estimates that this can cost $3,500 a day.

“But that’s nothing if we can save one life.”

As far as who will foot the bill, Trevino says during a Monday night meeting between elected officials and medical experts, the city and hospitals said they would be willing to participate.

He says talks on this will continue later this week.

The next scheduled meeting is planned for this Friday.

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