Plano Hospital Adds Tents To Help With COVID-19 Surge

Hospitals are looking for ways to maximize their space and using every resource they can

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Hospitals and their health care teams are on the brink, as they continue at levels they haven't seen this entire pandemic.

Hospitals are looking for ways to maximize their space and using every resource they can to alleviate the load on the front-liners who've been at this for months.

Eight large tents are now set up in the lobby of Texas Health Presbyterian Plano as a temporary solution to get non-acute patients in and out of a crowded emergency department, where space is so limited.

According to Texas Health Plano President Joshua Floren, between 95%-98% of the hospital's beds are full.

"The hospital became completely full and we realized, just a week ago, that if this was to continue on this same trajectory, we're going to need excess capacity," said Floren.

Floren said this is the first time during the pandemic they've had to use these tents.

Other hospitals are doubling up patients to a room or converting operating rooms into COVID-19 patient rooms.

A different area hospital has opened a second covid unit, while others have mentioned converting conference rooms and cafeterias into bed space, said DFW Hospital Council President W. Stephen Love.

"We are beginning to push the outer edge of the envelope," said Love.

Love said the other challenge is man power.

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County health departments have launched waitlists for adults 16 years old and over.

You can register to recieve the vaccination in Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties. Links are below:

Waitlist Links: Collin - Search Waitlist | Dallas | Denton | Tarrant

You do not need to be a resident of the county to register for a COVID-19 vaccine in that county -- registration is open to anyone in Texas. For those without internet access, Tarrant County is also taking registrations by phone at 817-248-6299. In Dallas County, call the DCHHS vaccine hotline at 1-855-IMMUNE9 (1-855-466-8639). In Denton County, call 940-349-2585.

For a more detailed breakdown of who is included in each priority group in Texas, see this page from the Texas DSHS.

Many places have canceled elective and outpatient surgeries to help free up much-needed hands.

There's a request into the state for help from temporary staffing agencies.

"Here's the issue with that and it's two-fold. They don't always fill to the number you want, which we understand, and the entire country is in the same situation," said Love.

Right now, there are 90 COVID-19 patients at Presby Plano, according to Floren.

In early September, there were only three.

Floren says his next step is to covert post-partum rooms if it comes to that.

"We are all keeping our fingers crossed and really hoping that this is the end of the peak," said Floren.

Love said that while pop-up hospitals or field hospitals are an option, it is not the preferred option, if there is no guaranteed help from federal partners to staff the facilities.

*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.

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