The resurgence of COVID-19 in Texas has put some city health systems in dire circumstances as intensive care unit beds fill up, officials say.
In Austin, the health department said there were only nine ICU beds available Friday in the 11-county trauma service region that includes the city and serves 2.3 million people.
“We are running out of time and our community must act now,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin Medical Director / Health Authority. “Our ICU capacity is reaching a critical point where the level of risk for the entire community has increased significantly, and not just for those who need treatment for COVID. If we don’t come together as a community now, we are putting our lives in danger. loved ones who may need intensive care. “
In a joint statement, three hospital systems serving the Austin area – Ascension Seton, Baylor Scott & White and St. David’s Healthcare – said that the latest COVID-19 spike “is putting extraordinary pressure on our hospitals, departments emergency and healthcare professionals, and has further challenged hospital staffing due to a prolonged shortage of nurses. “
San Antonio is also facing a nursing shortage caused by a surge in coronavirus patients. City leaders hoped the state would help fill the shortage, but in a letter sent Thursday to city and county leaders across Texas, the state directed local governments to make their own plans instead. to increase hospital staffing before asking the state for help, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
The state previously hired staffing companies to send traveling nurses, doctors and respiratory therapists to help hospitals cope with COVID-19 surges.
In San Antonio, COVID-19 hospitalizations on Saturday increased 430% from the beginning of July, the newspaper reported.
“We have patients waiting in the lobby; we have patients in the hall,” said Tommye Austin, executive director of nursing at University Health, one of San Antonio’s largest hospitals. “Every corner of this organization has a patient.”
On Sunday, there were 6,594 people in Texas hospitals with COVID-19, which was the most since February 24. State health officials reported 21 new deaths from COVID-19 on Sunday. Texas has had 53,248 COVID-19-related deaths since the pandemic began, the third most in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Despite the increase in hospitalizations and new cases, the Republican governor. Greg Abbott has repeatedly complied with his order prohibiting state, county and local mask mandates.
As of Saturday, only 43.8% of the total Texas population had been fully vaccinated. That was behind the national rate of 49.5% and far behind Vermont, which had the highest rate of any state, at 67.5%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. from USA