North Texas hospitals running out of ICU beds for new COVID-19 patients

Many hospitals here in North Texas are almost out of room for new COVID-19 patients with more coming in by the day.

As of Monday, there were nearly 3,600 COVID-19 patients in the North Texas hospital region.

RELATED: Texas hits new record high of COVID-19 hospitalizations

That is more than 23% of the available hospital beds in the 19 counties.

There are only 56 ICU beds available in the North Texas region, with just 18 remaining in Dallas County and six in Tarrant County.

New projections show hospitalizations in North Texas are likely to only get worse.

RELATED: Texas long-term care facilities start getting COVID-19 vaccines on Monday

Vaccinations in long-term care facilities started Monday in Texas, and pharmacies are receiving the next batch of vaccine.

Advocates expect more vaccinations to roll out in long-term care facilities over the next two to three weeks, as many facilities are still waiting for their doses.

Hospitalizations in DFW pushed available bed numbers to serious lows Monday.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council said Dallas County has just 18 available ICU beds left, while Tarrant County only has six left.

COVID-19 patients make up almost half the total ICU patients in North Texas.

And the latest projections from UT-Southwestern show Dallas County hospitalizations are on track to grow by 20% in the next week. Tarrant county hospitalizations are projected to shoot up 35% in the same time frame.

As the numbers continue to rise, the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues, with more healthcare workers and the most vulnerable getting vaccinated.

"I think everybody is to a point of just being weary of COVID, and everybody’s ready for their lives back," said Deborah Cates.

Cates’ son, Michael, lives at the Denton County State Supported Living Center.

They haven’t started vaccinations yet, but staff are making preparations and starting to ask who would be interested in getting the vaccine.

The state has allocated 400 initial doses in week three for the facility, and Cates’ son plans to get it as soon as possible.

"Michael just wants his life back. Michael wants his grandpa to come pick him up on Friday, go to the farm, spend the night, go to his favorite restaurant to eat for breakfast, go to his favorite Dairy Queen," she added.

Denton County Public Health already started vaccinating emergency responders and home healthcare workers Monday at a drive-thru clinic.

Families at the Denton facility hope their loves ones are soon to follow.

But even with vaccinations, families don’t expect the strict protocols on visitations to lift immediately.

The restrictions will still be the same as they are today – the personal protective equipment, there’s still the regular testing," said Kevin Warren, with the Texas Health Care Association.

But the hope is that with more vaccinations, this is the start of moving back towards normalcy.

"Will that reduce the amount of testing? Will that even expand visitation even further, and how quickly and how effectively can we get back to normal?" Warren added.

The state said most of the 124,800 Pfizer doses received in week two will go toward vaccinating those in long-term care facilities.