Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson wants hospitals to provide daily updates on beds and ventilators as part of new changes in the city's emergency plan to combat the spread of COVID-19.
"Transparency and facts are key to slowing the spread of this virus," Johnson said. “We can effectively manage our resources in the event of a surge in hospitalizations. We can also give the public a better idea of the severity of this pandemic as we see more cases of hospitalization."
The new regulations announced Monday, require hospitals within city limits to report the number of ventilators and hospital beds that are being used or empty.
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Johnson said hospitals have to report those numbers everyday by 4 p.m. The information is expected to be online for the public to access.
"We believe that information right now is being providing in some form or fashion to the federal government and the state government, but it’s not being desegregated in a way that would be helpful to us locally and made available in a way to help us locally," Johnson explained.
The city's emergency regulations have also been updated to match Dallas County's stay-at-home order, which includes protections for older adults in senior living facilities, construction workers and the definition of essential travel.
The regulations also suspend board and commission meetings that are not required by federal or state law.
"We stand with our medical community. The leaders of hospitals in Dallas have been critically important sounding boards for me in the last few weeks, and we rely heavily on our front-line healthcare workers, including our paramedics, our nurses, and our doctors," Johnson said in a news release. "They act heroically every day. We need them more than ever to get through this, and we will do all we can to help them during these difficult times."
The rules are part of the city's declaration of disaster, which runs through April 29.
Meanwhile, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas is being prepared as a pop-up hospital to be opened Friday or Saturday of this week. The building has the capacity for 250 beds but can be expanded to include 1,400 beds and will be staffed by medical workers in the U.S. Navy.
Rocky Vaz, the Director of Emergency Management for the city of Dallas, said members of the National Guard spent Tuesday afternoon putting together the pop-up hospital. He said they're waiting to hear from the medical community on how they want the hospital to be used.