Hospitals Consider Surge Capacity As COVID-19 Cases Increase

Alan Scaia
July 15, 2020 - 7:17 am

    Hospitals in North Texas may move more beds to ICUs to prepare for a potential surge in patients with COVID-19.

    Tuesday, Dallas County reported 1,000 additional cases of COVID-19 and 20 deaths. Dallas County has now reported at least 1,000 cases each of the past 11 days.

    “We unfortunately are reporting the deaths of 20 more of our county residents [Tuesday>, and with another day of 1,000 cases, we continue to see significant spread in Dallas County. Our hospitals and healthcare heroes are feeling the strain as COVID-19 hospitalizations remain high. Please continue to wear a mask when around others outside your home and maintain six foot distancing," Judge Clay Jenkins wrote in a statement.

    A study by UT-Southwestern says hospitalizations across the area have increased 180% over the past month.

    "What we are concerned with is we had a doubling effect, in fact, more than doubling, in the past three weeks," says Stephen Love, president and chief executive officer of the DFW Hospital Council.

    Through Tuesday, the Texas Department of Health and Human Services says hospitals in North Texas had 2,595 available beds and 290 available ICU beds, down from 2,907 beds and 369 available ICU beds a week earlier.

    Love says hospitals can add additional beds to their ICUs, but systems in North Texas may have trouble adding staff to maintain those beds.

    "Do we have surge capacity? Yes we do," he says. "But we've got to have a workforce to staff those, and you've got to have a workforce that's not fatigued."

    Texas Health Resources says it is no longer making appointments for elective surgeries. Parkland Health and Hospital System says it is receiving additional staff through the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council and Texas Department of State Health Services to handle an increase in patients and staff COVID-19 testing sites.

    Hospitals in North Texas reported 1,834 patients confirmed with COVID-19 Tuesday, up from 1,607 a week earlier.