July 13, 2020 – Hospitals are running out of space for COVID-19 patients in the southern and western states who have seen a recent increase in coronavirus cases, which means refusing ambulances, long waits in emergency services and an overflow of morgues.
Texas public health officials warn of a “rerun” of what happened in New York this spring, when hospitals struggled to manage thousands of deaths from COVID-19, according to a special report from ProPublica and NBC News.
Houston hospitals are treating COVID-19 patients in their emergency rooms pending the opening of additional intensive care beds, and hospital staff have told emergency services that they cannot accept new patients in safe, media reports said. A dozen emergency departments in the city have reached or nearly reached capacity about three times more often than in 2019, and hospitals have diverted patients to other hospitals outside of Houston.
“We are adding more capacity, but we are absolutely exhausted now, and if it continues like this we will run out of space. We’re going to look like New York, “said Jamie McCarthy, MD, executive vice president and emergency physician, Memorial Hermann Health System, to the media.
Florida hospitals are also facing capacity issues. As of Sunday morning, more than 7,300 people are hospitalized for COVID-19, according to data from the State Agency for Health Care Administration. More than 50 hospitals are at full capacity and have no intensive care beds available, according to WFLA, an NBC subsidiary in Tampa.
Another 435 people were hospitalized on Friday, a new record reported.
“You know, we are putting ourselves in danger and other people are unwilling to do anything and, in fact, go the other way and act to promote the disease. It’s really, it’s really difficult, “Andrew Pastewski, MD, ICU medical director at Jackson South Medical Center in Miami, told Reuters.
Arizona hospitals are also reaching full capacity, and some have sent patients to other states, according to NPR. Several large hospital systems are in “emergency mode,” the newspaper reported, and are bringing in hundreds of nurses from outside the state to help them.
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