ICU Of Houston apos;s Largest Hospital Is 97 Full As COVID-19 Cases Surge
A hospital in Houston, [/news/texas/index.html Texas], says its intensive care unit is near capacity as cases of the novel [/news/coronavirus/index.html coronavirus] continue to surge in The Lone Star State.
Texas Medical Center (TMC), the self-declared largest medical complex in the world, said on Tuesday that 97 percent of its ICU beds are occupied. The normal occupancy rate is 70 to 80 percent.
Of those patients, 27 percent have contracted COVID-19, the highly-infectious disease caused by the virus.
At the current rate of infections, all of the hospital's beds, including the backups added during spikes, will be full in the next two weeks, TMC data shows.
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Coronavirus hospitalizations in Texas have doubled in the last month to more than 4,000, as of Wednesday.
In the Greater Houston area, they've tripled over the last four weeks.
This has led to some hospitals trying to ease the burden placed on other facilities.
On Tuesday, Texas Children's Hospital announced it was admitting adult transfer patients, both with and without COVID-19, to help other hospitals out.
Meanwhile, Houston Methodist hospital system said it was reaching a near-breaking point.
'We appear to be nearing the tipping point,' Dr Marc Boom, head of the Houston Methodist hospital system, wrote in an email to employees on Friday, reported [ ].
'Should the number of new cases grow too rapidly, it will eventually challenge our ability to treat both COVID-19 and non-COVID 19 patients.'
An infectious disease expert predicted the only way to stop the virus may be 'herd immunity' where enough people are infected so the virus can't spread (above)
Meanwhile, Houston, the fourth-most populated city in the US, could see daily cases surge to more than 4,500 per day.
The model, from the PolicyLab at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, uses cellphone data to track changes in mobility to predict the trajectory of new infections over the next four weeks.
By July 18, it could see cases spike from nearly 1,200 per day to 4,578 per day - a 286 percent increase.
'My read: It's saying if there is no major intervention the only thing that stops this virus is herd immunity,' Dr Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, community.thulo.com tweeted.
Herd immunity occurs when 80 to 95 percent of a population is infected with a virus or is vaccinated to become immune so it doesn't spread throughout a community.
In the past, Dr Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the US, has said not enough of the population has become infected to achieve herd immunity.
Hotez argues that with the recent trend in cases, it's very likely that three-quarters of Houston residents could become infected and build-up antibodies to the virus.
[ ][ Texas Children¿s Hospital now admitting adults as other area hospitals prepare to ¿activate surge plans']
[ COVID-Lab: Mapping COVID-19 in Your Community | PolicyLab]