WATCH LIVE: Gov. Abbott provides update on COVID-19 response

Local News

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will be holding a news conference at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Texas Capitol to give an update on the state’s hospital capacity as a spike in COVID-19 cases continues.

Gov. Abbott will be joined by former lawmaker Dr. John Zerwas, Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs of the University of Texas, who is part of the Governor’s supply chain strike force. Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt and Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd will also be there.

Hospitalizations have slowly been increasing since the beginning of the month. According to data from DSHS, 2,326 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized as of June 15. On June 1, there were 1,756 hospitalizations reported.

Back in April, Dr. Zerwas presented the state’s plan to respond if hospitalizations continue to increase. At that time, Texas was at Level 5. For context, there were 826 COVID-19 patients hospitalized on April 4, which was two days after this plan was released.

Level 5: Maintain Staffed Beds. This means supporting hospital systems so they can maintain their current capacity.

Level 4: Surge to Physical Beds. This aims to enable hospitals to open all physical beds and double the occupancy, which is part of one of the governor’s executive orders.

Level 3: Surge Inside Facility: This signals a transition to non-traditional care areas within the hospital, such as an operating room or PACU to care for COVID-19 patients.

Level 2: Surge to Adjacent Building. This would mean opening additional capacity in adjacent medical offices or convalescent centers supported by the hospital.

Level 1: Surge to Building of Op. This stage would include beds in alternate care sites in remote areas, such as hotels, motels and pop-up hospitals.

In an interview Monday, Gov. Abbott commented on the increase in hospitalizations across the state.

“Even though there are more people who are hospitalized, outcomes remain good,” Abbott said, “But in addition to that, capacity remains plentiful. Even though more hospital beds are occupied by those who have COVID-19, there are an abundant number of hospital beds that are available, whether it be in Lubbock are these large cities, so we will be able to make sure that we can treat and provide health care for anyone who tests positive for COVID-19.”

Right now, there are 51,365 staffed beds in Texas, 14,525 of which are available. There are 1,626 ICU beds available and 5,626 ventilators available as of June 15.

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