TYLER, Texas (KETK) – COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations throughout Texas are surging, creating hospital bed shortages as the Delta variant rages onwards.
The Department of State Health Services broke Texas down into several different regions, making individual data for each region available.
The East Texas area is separated into two regions: Trauma Service Area G and Trauma Service Area H.
TSA-G contains: Anderson, Camp, Cherokee, Franklin, Freestone, Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Houston, Marion, Panola, Rains, Rusk, Shelby, Smith, Trinity, Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood counties. The entire region, commonly referred to as East Texas, has an estimated population of 968,611.
TSA-H contains: Angelina, Nacogdoches, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto and Tyler counties. This region, often referred to as Deep East Texas, has an estimated population of 272,151.
The information below was taken Aug. 16 from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Out of 2,688 staffed hospital beds in East Texas (G), there are 528 available beds. There are 14 available ICU beds in East Texas.
Deep East Texas (H) has 456 total staffed hospital beds, with 89 of those currently available. There are 3 ICU beds left in Deep East Texas.
There are 327 total available ICU beds in the state.
COVID-19 patients currently in the hospital
There are 431 COVID-19 patients in hospitals in East Texas. COVID patients make up 19.75% of hospital capacity.
There are 98 COVID-19 patients in hospitals in Deep East Texas. COVID patients make up 21.49% of hospital capacity.
State numbers in perspective
There are currently 11,791 COVID-19 hospitalizations in Texas. This is the highest number since January 29, 2021 when hospitalizations hit 11,473.
Last week, there were 10,463 COVID-19 hospitalizations in Texas. This week, that number increased by 1,328.
Looking at DSHS data, hospitalizations peaked in early January 2021 at 14,218.
COVID-19 hospitalizations in Texas have been increasing daily since July.
What officials are saying
On Aug. 8, health and local officials from Smith and Gregg counties talked about the increasing number of COVID cases in East Texas, especially with the new Delta variant. They both mentioned bed shortages and staffing shortages as hospitalizations rise.
Dr. John DiPasquale with CHRISTUS Health Longview said that hospital staff is exhausted from this recent case surge.
“We’re seeing a large number of COVID patients again, but the patients we’re seeing are unvaccinated,” DiPasquale said. “It’s nearly 100%. The patients are younger. I’m seeing patients in their 20’s and 30’s that are coming into our emergency department gasping for air.”
Doctors advise that if you are feeling sick, stay home. Even if you think it could be allergies or a minor cold, they say it’s better to be safe than sorry. Social distancing, hand-washing and wearing masks can also help protect yourself and others.
Todd Hancock, CEO of Good Shepherd health system, said that they are seeing a “significant” new surge in the community. DSHS is calling this the third wave of COVID cases.
Hancock said people can help the situation by getting vaccinated, stating that things will get worse before they get better.
“I promise you this: the people in our hospital today that have COVID, many of which are very sick, many did not think that they were going to get COVID,” Hancock said. “They thought they were healthy, they thought they were young. But they are very sick, and they are in our hospital.”