DALLAS - Parkland Hospital in Dallas is seeing a sharp increase in COVID-19 patients. Health officials say it’s not a good sign just days before the state of Texas will reopen some businesses.
While they can't explain it, doctors say what's happening at Parkland is different from the rest of Dallas and the state. That and the lack of robust testing across Dallas County is why some are worried about reopening Texas for business now.
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In announcing Phase 1 of reopening Texas for business, Gov. Greg Abbott said there had been across the state seven consecutive days of decline in COVID-19 in cases. That is not the case at Parkland in Dallas County.
“In terms of the number of patients that are coming in sick enough to be admitted to the hospital and in terms of the patients admitted to the hospital sick enough to require intensive care and mechanical ventilation, those numbers have been going up pretty significantly for us over the last 7 to 14 days,” explained Dr. Matthew Leveno, Parkland Hospitals’ director of ICU and tactical care units.
The doctor says the virus is not just attacking the frail.
“It's pretty devastating for a large group of people that normally you'd think would be pretty resilient,” Leveno said.
It’s why some are bothered by Friday's limited reopening, with planned ramp-up for businesses to 50 percent capacity by mid-May.
“We've oftentimes mentioned that in an ideal world we would prefer to see a longer period of time before reopening and certainly large chunks of time between stages,” said Dr. Mark Casanova, President of the Dallas County Medical Society.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson says testing equals success to re-opening the economy.
“It looks like we've only tested a little more than one percent of our entire county's population. That’s it,” the mayor said. “Failure, in this case, means people losing their lives. It means people dying, and I can’t have that. And that should be unacceptable to everyone.”
“If you thought staying home was hard, this next phase is actually going to be harder. The reason is there’s gonna be well-deserved excitement and optimism. But we really need folks to maintain that thoughtfulness and maintain those safe practices wearing mask and hand washing and keep physical distancing.”
It’s expected that there will be an increase in cases once that moving around. Once that starts to happen, health officials will keep a close eye on how many cases require hospitalization and intensive care.