DALLAS - COVID-19 hospitalizations in the Metroplex are up 86 percent since June 1, according to new numbers from the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council.
While local leaders say there is enough hospital capacity, they're worried about capacity if the current trend of increased cases and hospitalizations continue.
Dallas leaders and Dallas County are working together to examine if the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center needs to be activated as a facility for COVID-19 patients.
But the CEO of the DFW Hospital Council urges people not to panic, saying that not one area hospital is having to use its surge plan at this time.
“We have the capacity to treat the patients in North Texas,” DFW Hospital Council President/CEO Steve Love said.
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DFW hospital beds are about 70 percent occupied, according to Love, and about 10 percent of those beds are occupied by COVID patients.
Love said the state recommends that each hospital maintain 15 percent of its beds for COVID patients.
Right now, that leaves room.
“They may have their surge teams ready to go if needed, but no hospital has implemented surge plans at this time,” Love said.
Parkland, for example, has 80 percent of its COVID beds occupied, but the hospital has flex room to add another 50 beds or more if needed, according to a chief medical officer for the hospital.
Love does not think DFW hospitals will have to surge at all.
Instead, he believes hospitals will work together to move patients from one hospital to another to balance capacity, if needed.
In fact, some patients have already been moved, possibly for that reason.
“You know, the horror stories you saw in New York where one hospital was completely overwhelmed, and yet two miles away was a hospital that was 50 percent full, we’re not going to let that happen in North Texas because they work collaboratively together,” Love explained.
Medical professionals in DFW are concerned about what happens over the next two weeks if this upward trend continues and is not the peak. If that happens, this becomes a different conversation.
A conversation Mayor Eric Johnson started Wednesday.
“The numbers are moving in the wrong direction and we want to be prepared for what could happen two weeks from now,” he said.
The mayor announced that he and other leaders will meet Thursday to discuss turning the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center into a makeshift hospital once again, just in case.
Back in March, it was prepped to handle overflow virus patients but was not needed.
“The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center could be stood up if needed,” Johnson said.