The percentage of hospital beds occupied by patients with COVID-19 dipped below 15% in the North Texas region for the second consecutive day Sunday, state data shows.
That number is significant because North Texas, most of which is designated in Trauma Service Area E, reached Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's (R) threshold on Thursday to rollback reopenings due to high levels of coronavirus hospitalizations.
The rollbacks, which were triggered after seven straight days of hospitalization rates above 15%, required bars to close, nonessential businesses to reduce capacity to 50% from 75% and for hospitals to halt elective surgeries.
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For the guidelines to revert to Texas' previous stage of reopening, a Trauma Service Area must have seven straight days below 15%.
Trauma Service Area E was at 14.94% Saturday and 14.82% Sunday.
Even with the reduction in capacity and the closure of bars, many North Texas doctors said they weren't convinced the restrictions would impact the rate of hospitalizations.
"If numbers continue to increase, we are going to have situations where we ultimately will not have an ICU bed available," warned Dr. Mark Casanova, who serves on a panel of medical professionals advising Dallas County leaders on the pandemic. "Are we there today? No. When will we get there? It's hard to say, but that is something that is a very realistic probability on the horizon."
Texas' Trauma Service Areas are 22 regional bodies made up of Texas' 254 counties. North Texas falls into seven different TSAs. Just more than half of the counties in North Texas are grouped in TSA-E.
According to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council, "TSA-E is the largest Trauma Service Area in the state, serving a population greater than 26% of the population of Texas. That is approximately 2% of the population of the United States."