Advertisement

Texas seeks out-of-state help amid COVID-19 surge

Texas seeks out-of-state help amid COVID-19 surge
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has asked hospitals to cease elective surgeries as the state experiences a surge in COVID-19 cases. File photo by Ian Halperin/UPI. | License Photo

Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has asked for out-of-state help in an effort to combat rising COVID-19 cases.

The Republican governor announced Monday in a statement that the Department of State Health and Services will be using staffing agencies to get medical professionals from out-of-state to assist Texas' COVID-19 operations.

Advertisement

He has also sent a letter to the Texas Hospital Association to call on hospitals to voluntarily postpone elective medical procedures "in order to increase hospital capacity" amid a surge in cases.

"As new COVID-19 variants have expanded into Texas, we have seen more Trauma Service Areas approach a seven-day period where the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of total hospital capacity exceeds 15%," he said in the letter addressed to the association. "I am writing to ask for your cooperation to avoid a shortage of hospital capacity."

RELATED Pandemic has depression, anxiety rising globally among young people, data shows

Ted Shaw, president and the chief executive for the Texas Hospital Association, said the move by Abbott came as they are losing frontline staff, especially nurses, to burnout, illness and other professions due to the extreme nature of the job working amid a pandemic.

Advertisement

"This help could not come fast enough," he said in a statement emailed to UPI. "Many hospitals have already idled non-essential services and are diverting patients to extend staffing capability."

The state is experiencing spiking cases. According to state data, as of Tuesday morning, there were only 394 available ICU beds statewide.

RELATED Washington governor mandates vaccines for state, healthcare workers

However, Texas on Sunday reported 5,377 new cases and more than 9,000 hospitalizations a day, both of which mirror a previous surge seen in the winter, the Texas Tribune reported.

The state's testing ratio was also at 18.4% on Saturday, which has some hospitals increasingly under pressure.

The Harris Health System told CNN that one in four patients was testing positive and they were erecting tents for overflow patients.

RELATED U.S. military plans to require COVID-19 vaccination by mid-September

Abbott's office said Monday that he has directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the DSHS to open additional COVID-19 antibody infusion centers in communities statewide to treat patients who do not need to be hospitalized with the use of therapeutic drugs.

Vaccination availability will also be increased, his office said, and they will continue to encourage Texans to get the vaccine.

"The state of Texas is taking action to combat the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and ensure that our hospitals and communities have the resources they need to mitigate the virus," Abbott said in a statement," Abbott said.

Advertisement

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement