Hospitals in Houston, Texas, are feeling the stress and pressure amid increasing COVID-19 cases in the area, driven by the more contagious Delta variant. Recently, an 11-month-old had to be sent to another hospital that was 150 miles away from Houston just to give the baby the inpatient pediatric care it needed.
Hospital officials say that if the cases continue to increase and the citizens in Houston won’t get vaccinated, the situation will worsen.
Dr. David Persse of the Houston Health Department said that in the past days, with the sudden increase of COVID cases and the demand for hospital beds, some ambulances had to wait for hours just to offload their patients because of the unavailability of people to accommodate the new patients. Aside from these scenarios pushing Houston hospitals to breaking point, Persse fears it could also prolong the time to respond to 911 medical emergencies.
Persse added that the latest wave of COVID cases in Houston has been happening for the last three weeks, and he sees no relief on what is happening in the emergency departments. He continued to share that staff shortage is a problem, too. “Our problem today is a nursing shortage. We have hospitals in the region that have physical beds but don’t have nurses to staff them,” he noted.
Texas Medical Center CEO William F. McKeon also released a statement saying: “Hospitalizations across the Texas Medical Center are escalating at a pace we have not observed since the highest COVID-19 peak in summer 2020. Among patients hospitalized with COVID-19, a majority are younger and unvaccinated.”
This is not the first time a health official emphasized that those hit with the Delta variant of COVID are young and unvaccinated. On Thursday, Texas Medical Center admitted 336 new COVID-19 patients. This is a big jump compared to the 72 admissions last July 7 in the same hospital.
The rapid increase of COVID-19 cases in the Houston area resulted in Houston Independent School District Superintendent Millard House II announcing a school board meeting next week. The meeting will be about approving a mask mandate for students, teachers, and school staff. This is in preparation for the upcoming beginning of the school year, which is on August 23. The mandate is against the mask mandate ban of Governor Greg Abbott imposed last month.