ICU Capacity Dwindles as Delta Variant Surges Across North Texas

More than one-third of the patients in North Texas ICU beds are hospitalized with COVID-19

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Across the 19 counties making up Texas's Trauma Service Area E, only 75 adult ICU beds remained available Saturday.

Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council President and CEO Stephen Love said that puts ICU occupancy at 96%.

More than one-third of those patients have COVID-19.

"Why is that important? Suppose you're on I-30 and you're in a car wreck and you really need a trauma surgeon and you need an ICU bed. We don't want to reach a point where we run out of ICU beds,” Love said.

Patients with COVID-19 account for more than 15% of hospital bed capacity. It’s a number that was previously used to determine whether to add or lift certain restrictions around the state.

North Texas pediatric hospitals are treating 56 COVID-19 patients, a number that increased about 10% overnight. It’s about four times higher than it was one month ago. In addition, hospitals have been overwhelmed with an unusual summer surge of RSV.

"They're really tight. I'm looking at Trauma Service E, and the children's hospitals are running at 97% occupancy,” said Love.

Friday, an ER in Commerce and another in Rockwall temporarily closed their doors, which Love said helped get doctors and nurses to other facilities that are short-staffed.

"If our volumes keep going up it absolutely could happen a lot more,” he said.

Meanwhile outside of Baylor Scott & White Dallas Saturday, people gathered to protest vaccine mandates for healthcare workers.

“I’m here today to reestablish a healthcare worker’s right to choose and to be exempted from any medical procedure they feel violates their conscience,” nurse Sabrina Vallecillo said.

Love said while the Hospital Council supports the right to protest, at the end of the day vaccines remain key.

"The Hospital Council endorses protecting your workforce. We endorse protecting your patients, and we support our hospitals that mandate vaccines,” Love said.

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