Jul 6, 2020 - Health

Texas hospitals in danger of being overwhelmed as coronavirus surges

A coronavirus patient.
Health care workers move a patient in the COVID-19 unit at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston. Photo: Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

A record 8,181 coronavirus patients were hospitalized Sunday in Texas, and officials in major cities warned that hospitals' intensive care capabilities could be overwhelmed within weeks, the Texas Tribune reports.

The big picture: New York hospitals never became so overwhelmed that patients were abandoned in hallways, but the situation became dire after lockdowns were in place, and it was mostly a matter of riding out the storm.

  • In Texas and elsewhere, people remain free to move around and thus keep spreading the virus.

What they're saying: Austin Mayor Steve Adler told the Austin American-Statesman yesterday that the city's hospitals could be overwhelmed in the "next 10 days to two weeks."

  • The San Antonio Express-News reported that San Antonio's hospitals could be overrun in a week or two, with coronavirus hospitalizations rising by 55% in that area's trauma service region over the last week.
  • In the Rio Grande Valley, 10 of 12 hospitals had already reached capacity by Saturday.

The bottom line: "Like New York City in March, the Houston hospitals are experiencing a steep rise in caseloads that is filling their beds, stretching their staffing, creating a backlog in testing and limiting the availability of other medical services," the New York Times reported over the weekend.

  • Health care workers are falling sick, and hospitals are struggling to replace supplies.
  • However, doctors have learned more about how to treat patients since March. And so far, Houston patients are younger, healthier and not as sick as New York's.
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