Houston - Texas Medical Center hospitals are reporting a dramatic rise in COVID-19 patients over the last month.
"We have about 600 people hospitalized across our system," said David Callender, CEO for Memorial Hermann Health System. "That’s compared to about 100 on the first of July."
Memorial Hermann is the latest Houston hospital to issue a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. All Memorial Hermann employees will be required to get vaccinated for COVID-19 by early October.
"Now is the right time to do that considering the progressive nature of the Delta variant," said Callender.
According to the Houston Health Department, they’ve noticed a sharp rise in demand recently for COVID-19 vaccines.
During the week of July 12, the Health Department gave out 381 vaccines. In comparison, they gave out 936 vaccines the week of July 29.
"We’ve been seeing a steady increase in people wanting to get the COVID vaccines," said David Flores for the Health Department. "They are seeing those that are unvaccinated get hospitalized. It is driving them to come in."
On Monday, we met people outside a Houston CVS moments after they received their first COVID-19 vaccine.
"I wanted to wait for more research," said Mary Carmen Gallegos.
Gallegos says her family pressured her into getting the vaccine Monday afternoon.
"I visited my doctor today and I asked him about it," said Gallegos. "He said, if I feel comfortable, it’s safe. So, I did."
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office lost its 6th member to COVID-19 over the weekend.
Deputy Shaun Waters died Sunday. The 42-year-old was a married father of 2.
"He always thought he’d get better, no big deal," said close friend and coworker Deputy Absalom Delaine. "When I got the call that he passed, it was a complete shock to me. I had no idea it got that bad for him that quick."
Delaine describes Waters as a great man who always tried to help people and fellow deputies.
According to Delaine, Water was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Monday and died Sunday.
"One of the last conversations he had with me was he wished he had gone ahead and gotten the shot," said Delaine.