UT Southwestern: COVID-19 hospitalizations set to hit pandemic all-time high

Researchers at UT Southwestern say COVID-19 hospitalizations are increasing, and they will likely be worse than at any point during the pandemic.

On the other hand, the governor pointed to more optimistic figures.

While new cases are still very high, Gov. Abbott pointed to a slight downturn in the rate in which people who are tested are testing positive.

More than 3,200 people in North Texas are in the hospital fighting COVID-19.

According to the DFW Hospital Council, nearly half of all adult ICU patients are suffering from COVID-19 as healthcare workers are stretched to their limits. 

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New projections from UT Southwestern show the immense strain on North Texas hospitals. 

If nothing changes, the report reveals September’s hospitalization numbers could surpass any point in the pandemic so far.

Hospitals in Tarrant County are currently treating the largest number of COVID patients.

"There are ICU beds that can’t be staffed right now so they can’t be available right now," said Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley.

Cook Children’s in Fort Worth announced that a record number of patients at its urgent care clinics caused online bookings to halt.

Fauci expects vaccine uptick, hopes pandemic control could come in spring 2022

And while Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinney Taneja has seen an uptick in vaccinations and a slight drop in new cases, he says they still have very high community spread. 

Gov. Abbott tweeted Tuesday that the state’s positivity rate has declined in the past two weeks, writing "Texas may soon see a decline in cases."

But Dr. Marcial Oquendo with the Dallas County Medical Society says it’s too soon to predict a decline. 

"We are still going up," he said. "We anticipate it will come down because that’s natural and we’ve seen that pretty much in other countries with a delta spike."

Dr. Nathan Trayner at Hunt Regional Health in Greenville says 60% of the patients at his hospital have COVID.  The ICU is full. There are triage tents outside, and only a third of the county is fully vaccinated.

"It’s important people try to understand the reality because patients come in and seem to be surprised of the situation we are in," he said. "I try to spend 2,3,4 minutes just trying to help people by their bedside understand why I personally have been confident in this vaccine from the beginning."

Hunt Regional also says it received 30 additional staff members this week. That healthcare system was so short-staffed it closed its commerce er location. It’s still unclear when it will reopen.