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HOUSTON – Hospital capacity across Texas took center stage Thursday when an 11-month-old girl infected with COVID-19 had to be airlifted 150 miles to the nearest pediatric hospital bed.

Harris Health System spokeswoman Amanda Callaway told The Associated Press that the Houston hospital where the young child was initially admitted, Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, does not offer inpatient pediatric care.

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Although children who come there needing hospitalization are typically transferred, Callaway said none of Houston’s major pediatric facilities had any beds, forcing the infant’s transfer to a Temple hospital, KPRC-TV reported.

“She needed to be intubated immediately because she was having seizures. We looked at all five major pediatric hospital groups, and none [had beds] available,” Patricia Darnauer, the administrator for LBJ Hospital, told KTRK.

The child is now being treated at Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center.

Pediatrician Dr. Christina Propst painted a sobering portrait of the havoc the current COVID-19 surge, fueled by the highly transmissible delta variant, is wreaking on Houston’s strained health care system.

“The emergency rooms at the major children’s hospitals here in Houston, the largest medical center in the world, are extremely crowded. They are filling, if not full, as are the hospitals and intensive care units,” Propst told KTRK.

Meanwhile, William F. McKeon, CEO of Texas Medical Center, said in a prepared statement obtained by KPRC-TV that hospitalizations at the medical complex are “up over 400% in the past month.”

“Hospitalizations across the Texas Medical Center are escalating at a pace we have not observed since the highest COVID-19 peak in summer 2020. Among patients hospitalized with COVID-19, a majority are younger and unvaccinated,” McKeon stated.

According to Texas Medical Center officials, 336 new COVID-19 patients were admitted to the facility Thursday, a nearly five-fold increase compared with the 72 new cases admitted on July 7, KPRC-TV reported.

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