Montgomery County reached a new peak for children under age 12 testing positive for COVID-19 in August, according to the county’s Aug. 30 update.

With 1,794 positive tests as of Sept. 1, the total cases among children in August has exceeded the combined total cases in 2020 alone.

Dr. Jim Versalovic, the interim chief pediatrician and chief pathologist at Texas Children’s Hospital in the Woodlands, told Community Impact Newspaper that the county’s numbers are reflecting what is seeing in the hospitals.

“No age group has been spared,” Versalovic said. “We’ve been seeing preschool-aged children, adolescents testing positive with symptomatic COVID-19.”

Versalovic said nearly 100% of children’s cases Texas Children’s is seeing are those of the delta variant, which he described as “the most contagious” variant to date.

Texas Children’s also recorded an increased amount of pneumonia in infants due to COVID-19, according to Versalovic. The hospital saw both healthy children and those with underlying conditions during the latest surge.

No Montgomery County schools have enacted a mask mandate. A letter from Montgomery County Public Health to county superintendents, which is available on the Willis ISD page, recommended requiring masks at schools and on buses.

Versalovic said partnerships between communities and authorities, including school boards, are important to manage the delta surge. He recommended children over age 3 continue to mask and that those who may have been exposed or are showing symptoms stay at home.

“This impact can last for weeks or months and can seriously impact the quality of life of many children or adolescents, just at the time that they are growing and beginning their lives,” Versalovic said.

County reports new record high for active cases

Montgomery County showed a new record high of active cases in its Sept. 1 update with 11,227 reported. The previous record total was 10,774, reported Jan. 14.

The active case count has been rising steadily since early July, according to the county’s dashboard.

Hospital COVID-19 percentage on the rise after short dip

Montgomery County Public Health, citing Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council data, reported as of Sept. 1, over 110 intensive care unit beds in the county are occupied, the highest number reported since March 2020.

The county crossed the 15% hospital capacity threshold that would have marked it as a high hospitality order under a previous executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott. However, Abbott’s GA-38 order issued in July rescinded earlier orders, meaning a 15% average no longer mandates county judges to take action.

Montgomery County commissioners authorized a 30-day disaster declaration. The county also authorized $9 million in funding for surge staffing.