A number of Texas cities are warning that the level of hospitalized coronavirus patients they are experiencing could cause hospitals to run out of beds in as little as two weeks.
Officials in Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and Fort Worth have cautioned that their intensive-care units are on track to be overwhelmed as coronavirus cases continue to rise rapidly across the state.
Texas hit a new high on Sunday of 8,181 people hospitalized for the coronavirus. Texas still has more than 13,000 available staffed hospital beds, including more than 1,200 available staffed ICU beds, but some cities are approaching capacity more quickly than other regions.
In Houston, coronavirus hospitalizations have risen 44 percent over the past week, and mayor Sylvester Turner said the area’s hospital system could be in “serious trouble” in two weeks if the spread of the virus is not controlled.
“The number of people who are getting sick and going to the hospitals has exponentially increased. The number of people in our ICU beds has exponentially increased,” Turner said. “In fact, if we don’t get our hands around this virus quickly, in about two weeks our hospital system could be in serious, serious trouble.”
Austin mayor Steve Adler said the situation is potentially more dire in his city, warning that hospital intensive-care units could be at capacity between the next ten days to two weeks if the current rate of hospitalized patients continues.
“Hopefully we will see that trajectory slow, and we will know whether or not that happens this week,” Adler told the Austin American-Statesman, adding that of Austin’s 1,500 hospital beds designated for coronavirus patients, 446 were in use Saturday night. Hospitalizations in Austin have risen 34 percent during the last week.
Meanwhile, the Dallas-Fort Worth region has seen a 21 percent increase in coronavirus hospitalizations over the past week, and area hospitals are on track to reach capacity in three weeks, health experts warn.
Texas, which reopened most of its economy in recent weeks, has seen cases of the virus rise an additional 45,000 during the last week. Governor Greg Abbot on Thursday signed an executive order requiring most Texas residents to wear a face mask in public and has reversed several of his reopening measures, including ordering bars to shut down again.