Dallas, Fort Worth Children's Hospitals Regain ICU Bed Availability

Bed availability is an ever-changing situation, hospital officials say

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Both major children’s hospitals in North Texas announced on Friday morning that they do have staffed intensive care unit beds available to treat patients.

The DFW Hospital Council previously reported that at one point on Thursday there were no available staffed pediatric ICU beds in the 19-county Trauma Service Area E, which includes the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

At that point on Thursday, there were 73 pediatric patients hospitalized in Trauma Service Area E.

That figure represented the highest level of pediatric COVID-19 patients ever treated in the region.

The trauma area in question includes all the hospitals in 19 local counties, including Cooke, Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Erath, Fannin, Grayson, Hood, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Navarro, Palo Pinto, Parker, Rockwall, Somervell, Tarrant, and Wise counties.

Representatives at both Children’s Medical Center in Dallas and Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth stressed on Friday that bed availability is an ever-changing situation.

"We are experiencing a higher volume than usual at this time of the year. Our number of available beds changes very frequently throughout the day. We are prepared and equipped to provide care for children in North Texas," a Children’s Health representative noted in a statement to NBC 5.

As of Monday, there were more than 10,000 COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals. That’s the most since early February. Data from UT Southwestern Medical Center shows hospitalizations in the Dallas-Fort Worth region have increased by 97% in the past two weeks.

“Capacity is tight, but we are not sending patients to other hospitals at this time,” noted Kim Brown of Cook Children’s. “If the situation arises where we cannot accommodate a patient at our hospital, we will find a bed for them at an appropriate facility.”

On top of the COVID-19 surge, children’s hospitals are treating an unusual number of RSV patients for the summer season. The overall percent occupancy of all inpatient pediatric patients to bed capacity was running at 94.55% as of one point on Thursday.

As beds dwindle, DFW Hospital Council CEO and President Stephen Love said hospitals will implement contingency plans using makeshift spaces and reallocating staff.

"Otherwise, they have to transfer the patient to other facilities. But the problem is in the state of Texas, the Houston area, the El Paso area, we’re all in the same situation. This fourth surge is extremely serious," said Love.

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