PORT ARTHUR, Texas — Tuesday marks one of the worst days on record during the pandemic as 396 Southeast Texans are now battling the virus.
The three hospital systems urging us all to limit our exposure to help protect our neighbors are The Medical Center of Southeast Texas, Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas and CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Health System.
They put out a joint statement Tuesday, outlining the steps we all need to know to help stop the spread.
The statement said in part, "It is proven, that when people wear a face mask in public, get vaccinated, maintain at least six feet from others, and practice frequent hand hygiene, it reduces the spread of the virus."
Further writing that they're imploring Southeast Texans to do these four simple things to save lives.
COVID-19 is finding its way back into our community, and it’s happening at at much more rapid pace. The hospitals are pleading for people to take proper precautions to avoid ending up at the hospital.
At the Medical Center of Southeast Texas, the COVID-19 spike is impossible to miss.
“In the last 10 days, especially in the last five, and in the last 24 hours, we've seen a significant surge in our hospital," said vice president of communications Angie Hebert.
Hebert said they’re expanding their fifth floor to care for COVID-19 patients.
“In four weeks’ time, we're rapidly approaching our peak numbers that we were at in 2020, and that's relevant because the delta variant is proving to be highly transmissible," Hebert said.
RELATED: Jefferson County hospital leaders implore Southeast Texans to get vaccinated, mask up as COVID-19 cases rise
Chief of operations Kory Browning said they’re doing everything they can to keep their staff well taken care of, but they are tired.
"We really need to, as a community, do what we can to give back to our healthcare staff who have spent the last 12/18 months committed to, to caring for COVID patients," Browning said.
The hospital said their staff is limited. They are reaching out to state and local government officials and awaiting a response for help.
“We are getting this floor set up as quickly as possible, as soon as we can,” Browning said. “Sort of implement on some of the staffing plans that we need to do downstairs to make the available staff to come up here and take care of patients."
Hebert encourages people to trust in the guidance we've received from the vaccine.
"We have the availability in our community, and we just really strongly encourage everyone to do their very best to stop this," Hebert said.
The hospitals highly recommend people to continue to practice social distancing and frequent hand hygiene, wear a mask around others, and to get vaccinated.