Texas hospitals are reaching a “tipping point” as coronavirus cases continue to spike in the Lone Star State — with one facility reporting that 97 percent of its ICU beds are now filled, according to a report.
Officials at the Texas Medical Center in Houston said that 27 percent of those intensive care patients have COVID-19, KHOU-TV reported Thursday.
“We appear to be nearing the tipping point,” Dr. Marc Boom, head of the Houston Methodist hospital system, said in an email to employees, the outlet said. “Should the number of new cases grow too rapidly, it will eventually challenge our ability to treat both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.”
Texas Medical Center officials said 70 to 80 percent of their ICU beds are filled under normal circumstances but the hospital could fill all the beds within two weeks if the number of COVID patients continues to rise at the current rate.
The spike could push the hospital into “emergency surge capacity,” which means ICU patients could be forced to double up in rooms, patient-to-nurse ratios will increase, and patients could be pushed into field hospitals and other off-site treatment facilities, KHOU said.
“That’s crisis level,” said Dr. James McDeavitt, a dean of clinical affairs at the Baylor College of Medicine, part of the medical center’s network.
“That’s New York, Lombardi sort of crisis,” McDeavitt added. “We can do surge for a good long while and get through this. We can’t do emergency surge for a long time.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott warned this week that the virus was “spreading at an unacceptable rate.”
Texas has been among a number of states that have seen a resurgence of coronavirus cases as months-old restrictions and lockdown to halt the deadly contagion have been eased. Abbott allowed a stay-at-home order to expire last month and allowed businesses to begin to reopen.
The number of COVID cases in the state reached 4,092 on Tuesday.
The potential crisis has some hospitals eying convention centers and stadiums as potential overflow facilities for patients, KHOU reported.
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