The Tarrant County Public Health Department confirms hospital ICUs in the county are at 99% capacity Tuesday with only six beds available. The county health department also confirmed another 1,278 new cases of COVID-19 were being reported Tuesday along with another 23 new deaths.
At the Tarrant County Commissioners Court meeting Tuesday, public health director Vinny Taneja reported the county has six ICU beds remaining.
"Somebody has a heart attack or a bad traffic accident, now you got to decide which person is more critical. Where do you place them? Do you put them in the ICU or try to treat them outside of ICU care?" explained Taneja. "That’s where the burden of one disease becomes overwhelming."
According to the TCPH COVID-19 dashboard, there are 1,323 COVID-19 patients in county hospitals and that they make up 29% of the ICU patients. The total bed occupancy rate for all hospital beds in the county is now at 88%.
Of the 1,323 COVID-19 patients, 258 are in the ICU.
"Hospitals have pandemic surge plans. Let me not scare people, that they don’t know or they don’t have the capacity. They do, but do you really want to stretch that capacity? We already know we’re thin on staffing," Taneja said. "Staff has been working in the hospital for close to 10 months dealing with a lot of COVID and illness. They’re tired. Some of them had COVID, family with COVID, some of them died. So, do you really want to stretch that capacity?"
In the last seven days, the county has announced 11,188 new cases of the virus or an average of 1,431 per day. Data from the county health department indicates there are 1,278 more confirmed cases than the most recent report and 31 fewer probable cases.
The latest victims included a man from Keller who exceeded 100, a woman from Bedford in her 90s, a man from Hurst in his 90s, a woman from Fort Worth in her 90s, a woman from Fort Worth in her 80s, two men from Bedford in their 80s, two women from Mansfield in their 80s, two men from Fort Worth in their 80s, a man from Grapevine in his 80s, a woman from Bedford in her 70s, a man from Crowley in his 70s, two men from Benbrook in their 70s, a man from Fort Worth in his 70s, a woman from Hurst in her 70s, a man from Fort Worth in his 60s, a woman from Euless in her 60s, a man from Crowley in his 50s, a man from Mansfield in his 50s, and a man from Fort Worth in his 30s. Three had no underlying health conditions, three had unknown underlying conditions, while the others had underlying conditions.
Tarrant County, which extended its mask mandate until Feb. 28, 2021, last month, began reporting both probable and confirmed cases of COVID-19 in August at the request of the state health department. Probable cases, the county said, account for a variety of real-world situations and could highlight cases in the community that may otherwise go unreported. To date, the county has reported 127,256 confirmed cases of the virus and 18,023 probable cases for a total of 145,279 cases.
The county is also reporting another 1,113 estimated recoveries, bringing the total number of survivors to 106,644. There are currently an estimated 37,187 active cases in the county, the most of any North Texas county.
With 1,448 deaths now attributed to the virus, COVID-19 is now projected to be the third-leading killer of Tarrant County residents behind cancer and heart disease and is expected to surpass the annual total for stroke later this year.
COVID-19 causes a respiratory illness with cough, fever and shortness of breath and may lead to bronchitis, severe pneumonia or even death. For more information go to coronavirus.tarrantcounty.com or call the Tarrant County Public Health information line, 817-248-6299, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.