Dallas County reporting its highest-ever total hospitalizations due to COVID-19

Dallas County reported its second highest one-day total of COVID-19 cases Thursday, with 392 cases.

Five more people also died.

The county also reported its highest total of hospitalizations, with 423 in Dallas County.

There are nearly 1,000 people hospitalized because of the coronavirus across the Metroplex.

Doctors worry that hospitals may soon be forced to cut elective surgeries and go into contingency plans.

North Texas hospitals are at their highest occupancy levels ever because of severe cases of COVID-19.

Seventy percent of beds reported by 25 hospitals in Dallas are occupied, and nearly 75 percent of ICU beds are in use.

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Cases continue to rise as well, with wait times increasing at public testing sites in Dallas, and nearly 400 new cases reported again Thursday in Dallas County.

While Governor Greg Abbott said there are enough hospital beds to serve an influx of patients, the climb in hospitalizations concerns Dr. Mark Casanova, who is president of the Dallas County Medical Society.

“Patients who land in the ICU tend to be there for a very prolonged period of time,” he said. “We’re talking about four weeks to eight weeks range, so that high degree of ICU capacity is extremely concerning because those folks aren’t going to be leaving very soon.”

He said that because this is unprecedented, we don’t know what may be the breaking point that overwhelms hospitals.

“It’s hard to know what our threshold is. Obviously, if we start to broach the 90 percent occupancy rate, that’s a real serious situation,” Dr. Casanova said.

That’s when elective surgeries could be put on pause once again.

“Doubling some of the hospital room beds, using some of the surgery rooms for ICU beds, and there’s a lot of contingency plans,” Dallas County Health Director Dr. Philip Huang said.

He added that the increase in hospitalizations is concerning.

Hospitals have surge plans, but it’s hard to tell how soon those could be used.

“This is very serious. You saw how fast these numbers can change,” Dr. Huang said.

In the meantime, doctors said that people should take measures to protect themselves seriously.

“The face masks, the hand washing, the social distancing, those are our tools,” Dr. Casanova said.

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