A North Texas man and his family have many things to be grateful for this holiday season as Thursday marked the end of his week-long stay at the hospital for COVID-19.
When Carlton Griffis of Royse City first contracted COVID-19, he said the symptoms were mild and were comparable to a common “head cold”. However, Griffis said something felt wrong when he used the CPAP machine for his sleep apnea one night.
“It was very suffocating. It was very scary,” he recalled.
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The next morning, he was admitted to Texas Health Resources in Rockwall where he had been staying for the past week.
“You’re not just in the hospital. You’re completely isolated, quarantined and you’re out of reach and touch of conversation with everyone,” Griffis recalled.
When he was able to leave Thursday, he called the entire experience “humbling”.
“Knowing all the efforts that everybody makes on the daily basis there [hospital], it’s just incredible. I can’t give them enough credit. They face this daily knowing the dangers,” he said.
Griffis said three of his children and his wife Allison also contracted COVID-19, though it’s unclear exactly how. He noted they have taken precautions both at their home and while he travels for work.
“It’s very surprising how isolated you can be on the road,” he said. “Even if I have to buy a candy bar in the store, I wash it. We wash our hands. We wash the house, we wash the doors, everything.”
The Royse City couple said they plan to donate plasma as a way to pay it forward. As for the general public, Griffis is urging people to stay as educated and informed about the virus as they can.
“Myself, I thought I was stronger than this. There’s not a lot of information out there yet, still,” he said. “The things I learned this week in the hospital, talking to the doctors and the nurses – they’re still learning as well.”
In late November, the CEO of Texas Health Resources Barclay Berdan said they were at risk of running out of ICU beds in North Texas within a week's time. NBC 5 requested an update on hospital capacity within Texas Health Resources and received this statement from Texas Health Channel COO Kirk King:
“Our COVID-19 volumes track very close to our internal projected modeling. Critical care beds and staffing levels have reached and/or exceeded capacity at some Texas Health hospitals, requiring those hospitals to initiate surge plans. We are experiencing extended hold times in our Emergency Departments and delays with accepting transfers for higher levels of care due to critical care bed capacity shortages. We have successfully used every labor resource option available to manage this surge and are thankful for our caregivers who are devoting long hours to deliver safe and reliable care to our patients.
We have sufficient inventory on hand to meet our PPE and other supply and equipment needs.
We are definitely not out of the woods yet and are prepared for a long haul in fighting this disease. We remain diligent with respect to closely monitoring a most crucial point in this pandemic and are relying on the people in the communities we serve to wear masks and adopt protective measures to prevent the spread of the virus.”
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.