The hospital system in Houston, Texas, is building tents in order to prepare for a possible patient overflow, as the latest increase in coronavirus cases is pushing its hospitals to capacity, The New York Post reports.
Harris Health System stated that 25% of patients at its two hospitals have tested positive for COVID-19, and that at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, where the tents were set up, 100% of its intensive care units (ICUs) are full with 63% being COVID-19 patients, according to CNN.
Harris Health Spokesman Bryan McLeod told CNN that “[T]hey are still in the process of completing set up, and installing IT equipment, etc. There is no pre-determined time for when they will begin to be used, but they want the tented environment to be ready to go in the event they are needed.”
President and CEO Esmaeil Porsa told CNN that there are 122 COVID-19 patients at the system’s two hospitals, and that the number has gone up quickly, saying that "[W]hat is intriguing about this surge is not so much the magnitude of the numbers, but the speed at which the numbers are going up. It took us five weeks to get from one (patient) to 120. When I look at the last surge, it took us three months -- the rapid rise in the amount of Covid patients is very concerning."
Ben Taub Hospital, the system’s second hospital, has its ICUs at 95% capacity, where 27% of patients have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Porsa added that “[T]he situation is bad and only getting worse. We are not heading towards a crisis, we are in the middle of a crisis.”
The Post adds that Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) called for out-of-state help to fight the new wave of COVID-19 cases, and directed health officials to use staffing agencies from out-of-state in order to find additional medical staff.
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