North Texas hospitals' requests for additional staffing denied by state officials
DALLAS - North Texas hospitals and others around the state have requested staffing help from the state as they have in the past. But this time, the requests are being denied.
The state is telling hospitals to make their own plans using federal stimulus money to deal with the delta variant surge.
FOX 4 has learned hospitals in North Texas requested hundreds of additional staff to help with patient increases, but the funding was denied by the state.
Businesses are also starting to backtrack on their mask policy for employees.
More than 1,700 COVID patients are in North Texas hospitals. It’s the most our region has seen since February. Tarrant County leads the region, and a majority of patients aren’t vaccinated.
"I don't understand why they can't just sit down and recognize the fact that the vaccines are working," said Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley.
Because of the spread of the delta variant, hospitals in North Texas sent a request to the state for additional staff. It was also done last year during the pandemic.
The DFW Hospital Council says more than 500 additional staff was requested last week.
FOX 4 has confirmed that the Texas Department of State Health Services denied the request, suggesting counties use COVID relief money to help hospitals.
A similar request and denial was made in the San Antonio hospital region, according to a report by the San Antonio Express newspaper.
Health officials describe it as a pandemic among the unvaccinated, but a small percentage of vaccinated adults are also testing positive.
"Unless there's a change in the behaviors of those who are not vaccinated and that they become vaccinated, I think that the numbers will continue to rise," said Floyd Wormley, Associate Provost for Research at TCU.
In Texas, an executive order by Gov. Greg Abbott says no government can require masks in buildings or schools. Private businesses can make their own rules.
A new mask order went into effect Monday mandating all employees and visitors at Dallas County courthouse properties wear face coverings.
The mandate might appear to violate Gov. Abbott's order, but Administrative District Judge Maricela Moore who issued the order says it is backed up by a Texas Supreme Court decision.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Monday renewed a mask mandate for Houston city employees while on city property. It takes effect Wednesday and remains to be seen if the attorney general will challenge it.
Starting Tuesday, all Target employees will have to wear masks again. Target is joining retailers like Walmart and Sam's Club with similar rules.
Half of eligible Dallas and Tarrant County residents are not fully vaccinated, according to the Department of State Health Services.
Denton County is 56% fully vaccinated, and Collin County residents are 62% fully vaccinated.
Judge Whitley says he is frustrated.
"You have trusted your family physician from the very beginning. Why do you not trust them now?" Whitley said. "You need to go to them. If they tell you to get the shot, don't second guess them."
Wormley echoed Whitley's statement about trusting your doctor.
"It can only mutate if it has a susceptible host to mutate in. So more of us have to become vaccinated," he said. "We can get this under control, and we can drive the numbers down so that it won't mutate and we won't get to the lambda virus."