Sunday, September 19, 2021

Denton County health director: COVID-19 surge limiting hospital availability

The director of Denton County Public Health said Tuesday that the Delta variant of COVID-19 is quickly putting a lot of county residents in the hospital, where staffing shortages are severely limiting bed availability.

DCPH Director Dr. Matt Richardson addressed the Denton County Commissioners Court during the court’s Tuesday meeting. Richardson said the rising number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have not yet reached the worst of the pandemic, which was in February, but staffing issues mean the hospitals are just as swamped as they were during the pandemic’s peak.

“Staffing shortages are so severe in Denton County … there are fewer beds available for us to occupy in an emergency,” Richardson said. “It’s essentially the same threat to hospital system as the fall and winter (during the peak of the pandemic).”

According to DCPH data on Wednesday, 86 ICU beds in Denton County were occupied, and only four were available. About 180 inpatient beds, 25% of all the available ones in the county, are occupied by COVID-19 patients. There are 116 inpatient beds available.

Richardson said the data shows that nearly all the new cases are the Delta variant.

“It is proving to be vastly more infectious than the original COVID-19 virus,” he said.

DCPH on Tuesday reported eight more COVID-19 deaths, most of which were from the last couple weeks, Richardson said. Tuesday’s active case count was 9,044, up from 1,444 on July 6. The most active cases in one day was over 15,000 in February.

To minimize spread of COVID-19, DCPH urges all unvaccinated community members to:

  • Maintain at least six feet of physical distance in public settings and when around individuals outside of the household
  • Wear masks or face coverings, which should cover both the nose and mouth, in public settings and when around individuals outside of the household
  • Wash and/or sanitize hands frequently
  • Stay home if you are symptomatic, have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19, or are awaiting COVID-19 test results
  • If you are 12 years old or over, get your COVID-19 vaccine

If you are fully vaccinated, CDC recommends mask use in public indoor spaces.

Click here for more information about COVID-19 vaccines in Denton County. For additional COVID-19 data including active case information by municipality, hospital capacity, and ventilator utilization, visit dentoncounty.gov/COVIDstats.

For information regarding DCPH’s upcoming testing centers, visit dentoncounty.gov/COVID19testing.

For additional COVID-19 health and safety recommendations, visit dentoncounty.gov/COVID19.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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