More than 10,000 people infected with COVID-19 have had to be hospitalized in Texas amid the third wave of the pandemic in the state – which is the highest number since February this year, according to state health officials. The surge in cases is putting a lot of strain on the state’s health care systems.
At the same time, local authorities and officials in the state are also trying to re-impose COVID-19 restrictions such as mandatory mask wearing and strict social distancing, in defiance of Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on masks and social distancing mandates.
According to the latest state tally available from the Texas Department of State Health Services, 10,041 COVID-19 patients were admitted to different Texas hospitals as of Tuesday which is the highest number of virus hospitalizations in the state since Fed. 4 when there were 10,259 COVID-19 hospitalizations.
All hospital beds in the intensive-care departments of hospitals in the Big Thicket, Laredo, and Coastal Bend regions have been filled with COVID-19 patients – potentially infected with the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus.
Hospitals in Austin and Victoria areas, and the West Texas Rolling Plains had all but one or two of the intensive-care unit beds vacant with the rest being occupied by COVID-19 patients.
Only three ICU beds in hospitals in the Wichita Falls-Vernon and Waco areas were left empty – the rest being taken up by severe COVID-19 cases.
According to Memorial Hermann CEO David Callender, severely ill COVID19 patients occupied almost 35% of the Houston area’s Memorial Hermann Health System’s ICU capacity while such patients accounted for almost 25% of all beds across its system.
“All the hospitals are considering what they need and putting in requests, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed,” Callender said.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the rolling seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases in Texas was at 14,143 daily which was also the highest since early February.