Parkland Hospital

A Look Inside Parkland's COVID-19 Unit

Dallas County's public hospital has learned a lot since the inception of the pandemic and leaders say they're prepared for what's to come

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Parkland Health & Hospital System is prepared to expand its COVID-19 unit as cases continue to rise.

According to the latest projections, hospitalizations in the North Texas region have risen significantly and have now surpassed the previous peak levels of late July.

The average volume for the past week was 206% higher than the most recent low in late September, and the growth is accelerating.

Currently, 140 coronavirus patients currently being cared for in the Parkland COVID unit, made up of normal patient rooms that have been converted into special isolation rooms.

Surgical suites stand ready to transform once again into COVID tactical care units to fit even more patients.

"We can duplicate or put patients in different rooms, so we definitely have capacity for more patients, however, our staff has been working very hard for the last eight and a half months," said Parkland's Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Roberto De La Cruz.

In photos and videos provided by Parkland, doctors are seen making rounds while in full PPE, nurses push ZOOM carts and therapists work with patients who are no longer contagious, all in the hallway behind red doors labeled "CORONAVIRUS UNIT."

"When you walk into a coronavirus unit that has many patients, it's sort of a compression that you see in medicine. You see from patients arriving in a hospital in distress and needing immediate care to patients are deteriorating. You may even see CPR going," said De La Cruz.

"At the same time, because of coronavirus, you also see, in some patients, improvement. You walk down the hall and you see someone you had taken care off, perhaps, who is waking up and getting support, relearning to walk and eat."

The pictures also share a glimpse of the strain on staff.

"Every hospital system in North Texas is feeling it right now. We all have significant stretches right now because of our staff shortages. We also have some that are affected by COVID or their families affected by COVID," said De La Cruz.

In Dallas County, COVID-19 has replaced stroke as the third leading cause of death, following heart disease and cancer, according to De La Cruz.

He said they're already working on plans to get the future COVID-19 vaccine to frontline healthcare workers.

He says that could happen in mid-December.

Contact Us