North Texas hospitals seeing spike in COVID-19, flu cases

Doctors are concerned about a rise in flu and COVID cases in North Texas. According to the DFW Hospital Council, nearly all area hospital beds are full.

As many north Texans are celebrating the extended holiday weekend with family, others are lying in a hospital bed.

Stephen Love is president of the DFW Hospital Council.

"In our hospitals, we're running about 91% occupancy. Pediatrics are running over 96%," he explained.

He’s talking about hospitals located in 19 counties that make up Trauma Service Area E.

As of Wednesday, there were 306 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. That’s up from 259 the day before. Another 297 are hospitalized with the flu.

Love says infectious disease doctors are keeping a close eye on the upward trend.

"They are also looking to see what's going to happen in the next 7-10 days after Thanksgiving, where people have been out. They've been transient," he said. 

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Dr. Nick Karr is the founder and CEO of Citra Urgent Care. All eight of his North Texas clinics have been filled with patients sick with COVID and influenza. 

"We've seen an increase in our volume of about 100% over the past two weeks," he said. "Typically, we're used to the flu season really starting to pick up after Thanksgiving. And if you look, I mean our volumes again are what we would predict for late December."

Dr. Karr is also seeing lots of cases of RSV.

According to the CDC, RSV hospitalization rates have gone down but are still more than double this year compared to 2021.

The virus can be serious for the most vulnerable populations, including children and the elderly. 

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"I have to imagine that to some degree people are kind of relaxing how they're, you know, some of these precautions they've put in place, like wearing a mask and avoiding crowding," Karr said.

And while there are still open beds at our area hospitals, Love says that doesn't mean they're necessarily available.

"I’m also probably most concerned about staffing. Even if you have the bed capacity, you've got to be able to staff it," he said. "And as you know, staffing has been an issue."

Pediatricians have called on President Joe Biden for an emergency declaration to help hospitals with these multiple crises.