There are no more pediatric ICU beds left in Dallas County, Texas, amid the recent surge in cases driven by the Delta variant, county Judge Clay Jenkins has said.
In a statement at a news conference Friday, Jenkins said: “That means if your child’s in a car wreck, if your child has a congenital heart defect or something and needs an ICU bed, or more likely if they have COVID and need an ICU bed, we don’t have one. Your child will wait for another child to die.”
He further said that children will not get on the ventilator in Dallas County if they need to be or could be airlifted somewhere else where they can find a bed.
The shortage of pediatric ICU beds is partly due to the lack of medical staff. There have been no ICU beds for children for at least 24 hours before the statement of Jenkins.
Talking about the shortage, Texas Department of State Health Services spokesperson Lara Anton said: “Hospitals are licensed for a specific number of beds and most hospitals regularly staff fewer beds than they are licensed for. They can’t use beds that aren’t staffed. With the increase in COVID cases, hospitals are experiencing a shortage of people to staff the beds that they are licensed for.”
She added that the staffing agencies are now recruiting more medical surge staff across the United States to address the matter.
In line with this, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that more than 2,500 medical staff would be deployed to hospitals to help with the increase of COVID-19 cases. However, he still has not lifted the mask mandate and vaccine mandate bans. Many officials have criticized Abbott’s handling of the latest surge in cases noting that it is putting Texans in danger.
Dallas is one of the counties that sued Abbott this month regarding his bans. It is requesting a restraining order against the prohibitions of Abbott. Last week, Judge Tonya Parker determined that Jenkins should be allowed to implement mitigation strategies at the local level to curb the increase of COVID-19 cases and protect the residents. Jenkins issued an emergency order mandating masks in certain public places and specific indoor situations on Wednesday.