Around the country, people are bracing for a third surge of COVID-19 cases. As they do, Parkland Hospital’s lead nurse said if the current trends don’t change, it’s likely the healthcare system will be overwhelmed.
“I have some concerns that we’re going to get to a place where we’re going to start overwhelming everything again, and there will be more patients and maybe not enough hospital beds and not enough nurses and physicians to help care for where we’re at,” said Senior Vice President of Nursing and Surgical Services Samantha Rowley.
For now, Parkland said it has what it needs to treat its 73 COVID-19 patients, though that number is twice as high as it was just four weeks ago.
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In its intensive care unit, Parkland still has the capacity to care for twice as many of the 21 people who are currently intubated.
Though for the healthcare workers who’ve already experienced their fair share of heartbreak, they hope it won’t be needed.
"COVID has been a big reminder to how vulnerable life is. It's a disease that can pluck someone out of a crowd that is 25 and healthy and you think they're going to be fine, that requires them to be placed on mechanical ventilation and about 10 other machines and then not survive,” said Rowley.
Though not every story at Parkland has been one of loss, as cases climb, Rowley said the good is often outweighed by the bad.
"To watch mothers and children say goodbye to people they shouldn't have to say goodbye to, to see families… You know, we see a husband and a wife admitted and you know, they're talking and they’re fine and then they have a demise. And then to tell their families, ‘I'm sorry. You've lost both of your parents.’ Or to see a father stand there and hold his daughter's hand while she passes is not okay,” said Rowley.
The latest U.T. Southwestern projection shows Dallas County is on track to report roughly 1,100 new cases a day by Nov. 6.
Rowley urged people to continue following the recommended protocols like wearing masks and keeping six feet of distance to help flatten the curve.