BEAUMONT, Texas — Coronavirus hospitalizations in Jefferson County are now nearing levels not seen since the summer surge, and the potential cases we could see after Thanksgiving have not even been diagnosed yet.
According to the SouthEast Texas Regional Advisory Council, COVID-19 hospitalizations in Jefferson County are up 114% in just one week.
There are currently 73 people with COVID-19 in general beds and 41 in an ICU bed.
Patients with the virus in ICU now account for 48% of all beds, SETRAC reported in numbers released Monday.
The number of ICU beds available are running low. According to SETRAC data, there is only one ICU bed available in Jefferson County. The ICU capacity in Jefferson County has been at or near surge capacity for the past week.
Earlier this month, all 86 ICU beds in the county were filled, and the county's backup facility, Mid Jefferson Extended Care Hospital, also ran out of available ICU beds.
“When we exceed our ability to treat, bad things happen. People die,” said John Henderson with the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals.
According to Henderson, our local hospital systems must now implement surge capacity plans. Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick said hospitals are required to add an additional 24 beds, bringing the county's total to 110 ICU beds. If the need keeps growing, the state has more guidelines to find open beds.
“The second layer of that is you expand into nontraditional areas like nursing homes and surgery centers to increase capacity," Henderson said. "And then there's actually a plan to go into convention centers and things of that nature. I think the fourth and final tear would be going to hotels. I hope it doesn't come to that.”
Henderson said we can all do our part to help relief the pressure mounting growing on an already strained healthcare system.
“If we are going to control this thing, it takes everybody working together and doing everything they can to stay safe," Henderson said.