More North Texas hospitals opening new units to treat COVID-19 patients

More local hospitals are opening new units dedicated to treating only coronavirus patients.

Doctors and nurses from out of town and out of the state are being hired temporarily to deal with the surge.

MORE: Coronavirus coverage

One local family shared how difficult it's been treating their critically ill loved one.

Pictures showed the progression of COVID-19 patient Lalo Mendoza.

Now, after three weeks hospitalized, the Grand Prairie father is sedated and on a ventilator, in intensive care at Methodist Charlton Medical Center in Dallas. 

The recent images his family has of him are from FaceTime, which is the closest Mendoza’s brother and family can get to him.

It’s patients like him who are using one of the 72 percent of beds occupied right now in the city of Dallas.

Governor Greg Abbott said Friday that hospitals are beginning to become overrun with patients.

Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang said the biggest stress on hospitals right now is a shortage of staff.
“We’ve had eight days straight of over 1,000 new cases. We are at record hospital levels, hospitalizations, record ICU occupancy, record number of ER visits. I am in no way downplaying that because these are the highest numbers we’ve seen,” Dr. Huang said.

Multiple staff members at Medical City Dallas tell FOX4 that the hospital could soon open its fourth unit dedicated exclusively to COVID-19 patients.

Parkland, too, has opened at least four COVID units.

A statement from Medical City reads, in part, “We are concerned that there is a misconception in the community that this rate of growth can continue without consequences.”

It goes on to state that the exponential influx in patients is putting “significant pressure” nurses and doctors, adding that Medical City is hiring traveling nurses to help. 

“It’s very hard. It’s very hard. And then, you know, my 5-year-old, he also had tested positive for the virus,” Mendoza’s wife, Suzette, said.

She added that she too feels the emotional exhaustion.

“If I can be honest, I’m emotionally drained. Physically. Mentally. I’m going to do whatever it takes,” she said.

At one point, doctors suggested he be on a version of life support known as ECMO, normally used for heart and lung bypass patients. It’s now being used by doctors to replenish blood oxygen in severe coronavirus patients.

A statement from Methodist Health System states, in part, “…after contacting local hospitals that offer ECMO services, there were no available ECMO beds in the DFW area.”

RELATED: Interactive map of Texas COVID-19 cases