Texas Medical Center sees an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations

The Texas Medical Center reports it is in Phase 2 of its ICU bed capacity, with a quarter of those beds occupied by COVID-19 patients.

"We're seeing a higher overall utilization of beds by COVID-19 patients," said Dr. David Callender, President and CEO of Memorial Hermann Health System.

The Texas Medical Center notes a 3% growth rate in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Callender says he is not worried about running out of beds right now.

"We've seen some predictions in the past few days that in some number of days, 8 to 10, we're going to be out of ICU beds," he noted. "That's not accurate at all. It's not an appropriate prediction, really. We believe it's based on a misunderstanding, of how we use ICU beds."

Callender adds hospitals often change the number of available ICU beds to match demand, and it is common for capacity to exceed 90%.

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However, he says, the increase in infection rates is very concerning.

"Hospitalizations lag the rate of new infections. So, it takes a while for people to develop serious disease and require hospitalization. So, we won't see what's happening in the new patient infection rate play into the hospitalization rate for another couple of weeks," he explained.

The current ICU capacity at the Texas Medical Center is about half of what is was during the peak of the surge in July. Callender hopes people will continue to follow safety measures like wearing a masks to prevent more infections.

"We can prevent COVID-19, reduce the transmission rate -- the number of new infections. So, please help us do that so everybody who needs a critical care bed, can have easy access to it," he urged.

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