North Texas region COVID-19 hospitalizations top 3,000

More than 3,000 people are sick with COVID-19 in hospitals across the North Texas region as of Friday.

While some resources from out of state are being brought on board, it's not yet enough to ease the burden on weary health care workers. For hospitals big and small, urban and rural, the problem is supply and demand.

"It's getting bleaker by the day, we're definitely getting more busy every single day," said Donna Richardson, Sr. Vice President & Chief Nursing Officer, Parkland Hospital.

Parkland has almost 150 critical care COVID-19 patients.

"Staffing is a daily struggle. Actually it can be an hour by hour struggle," Richardson said.

It was a relief when 34 traveling ICU and medical-surgical nurses arrived this week to cheers from staff.

"It almost felt like the cavalry came," she said. "The bus showed up and it was applauded when the staff got off the bus."

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Across the 19-county trauma services region that covers most of North Texas there’s a capacity crunch.

"We're running about 92 percent occupancy in our hospitals overall. In the pediatric it’s running a little higher than 94 percent," said Stephen Love, DFW Hospital Council.

Fort Worth's county hospital John Peter Smith, like Parkland, received some staffing backup along with Methodist Dallas.

"Nurses and respiratory therapists have begun arriving at some of our hospitals, and we look forward to welcoming additional team members soon," a Methodist spokesperson said.

Baylor Scott and White knows help is coming, but it’s not here yet.

"We have received notice from the state that we will be allocated additional nurses and respiratory therapists. the arrival dates of the state resources are yet to be determined," a Baylor spokesperson said.

The requests for help outnumber what will likely be deployed to the region. Love estimated only 200 additional medical personnel would deploy to the area next week.

Parkland’s Richardson says they have two needs -- both critical.

"We definitely need more staff over all we're down roughly about 500 nurses, so 34 is definitely some help. But we obviously need more and we need people to get vaccinated so the influx of patients will stop," she said.


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