Houston-area hospitals are noticing a new wave of COVID-19 patients

Hospitals throughout the area are reporting a rise in COVID-19 patients.

"I have increased my number of admissions by 500% over the last 2 weeks," said Dr. Joseph Varon.  "At the beginning of the month, I had only 3 patients remaining with COVID in the hospital.  Today, I have every bed in the hospital allocated for COVID completely full. I’m opening up additional wings so we can serve the community."

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Dr. Varon is the Chief Medical Officer at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston.  Dr. Varon has spent roughly 500 days treating COVID-19 patients.

"Just this week, we lost a 31-year-old man who was healthy prior to this," said Dr. Varon.  "The fact that you’re healthy, the fact that you do triathlons, does not mean you’re not going to get the illness.  That does not mean you’re not going to get very sick and [possibly] die."

Lynse Candy spoke with us Saturday about her sick mother.  The 57-year-old grandma is hospitalized in the Houston area with the Delta variant.

"You don’t want to be in the situation our family is in right now," said Candy.  "I cried my eyes out.  Obviously that was hard to swallow."

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According to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), a majority of severe COVID-19 illnesses and deaths this year have occurred among the unvaccinated population. However, there have been some "breakthrough" cases among people fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

"DSHS had been tracking all types of breakthrough cases, but switched to tracking only clinically severe breakthrough cases starting May 1 as that is what the CDC asked states to report," said a spokesperson from DSHS.  "Clinically severe cases are the ones that result in hospitalization or death. As of mid-July, there have been 233 clinically severe breakthrough cases reported in Texas since we started tracking breakthrough cases in February.  Forty-three of the 233 clinically severe breakthrough cases resulted in death.  To provide perspective, there have been more than 1 million confirmed cases and 24,600 COVID fatalities in Texas since Jan. 1."

"Ninety-five percent of the patients we have in the hospital have not been vaccinated," said Dr. Varon. "Five percent have been vaccinated."

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Candy says her mother chose not to get vaccinated because of information she read on social media. Now, the 57-year-old grandmother is intubated in a Houston hospital intensive care unit (ICU).

"My mother, had she been vaccinated, would likely not be in the position she’s in now," said Candy.

In the last text message Candy’s mother sent before getting intubated, she expressed her desire to now get the COVID-19 vaccine.  The message reads, "…On your vaccine, I’m getting mine as soon as I can.  This was a wake up."

"Seeing your mother in that condition, especially when it could have been prevented, is extremely difficult," said Candy.