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Texas fights back against rising COVID-19 numbers in hospitals

Texas fights back against rising COVID-19 numbers in hospitals

Texas fights back against rising COVID-19 numbers in hospitals
September 17
10:00 2021

More than 7,000 out-of-state health care workers have come to Texas as part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to mitigate rising COVID-19 numbers.

In a series of press releases from Aug. 9 to 26, Abbott increased the number of medical personnel the Texas Department of State Health Services was authorized to hire from at least 5,500 to 8,100. As of Sept. 10, Texas is still almost 600 people short of that goal.

“There are 7,511 medical surge staff working in hospitals across the state,” DSHS Senior Press Officer Lara Anton said.

The unpredictability of the pandemic is one of the main reasons Texas is seeing so many healthcare staff shortages.

“They only staff hospitals for the number of patients they expect to have,” Anton said. “When there is a significant increase in the number of patients, they need to bring in additional staff to assist with the increase in patients”

Hospitals have also been struggling to keep the workers they already have.

“The hospital industry is losing frontline staff, particularly nurses, to burnout and illness,” Texas Hospital Association president and CEO Ted Shaw said in a press release. “Many have left the profession due to the extreme nature of the work during a relentless pandemic.”

The staff shortage in hospitals is a statewide issue.

“Every area of the state has requested and received medical surge staff to assist with caring for the high number of people hospitalized with COVID,” Anton said.

Denton has also been affected by the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Texas. On Monday, COVID-19 cases accounted for 28.4 percent of total hospitalizations, according to the Denton County Public Health website.

Medical City Denton has also seen a rise in COVID-19 cases but has not been struggling with resources as much as some hospitals.

“As part of Medical City Healthcare, Medical City Denton is one of the system’s 16 North Texas hospitals with the ability to leverage and share significant resources across the division, including transferring patients to sister facilities based on circumstances,” said Dana Long, community and public relations director at Medical City Denton.

Texas is not the only state experiencing staff shortages, however.

“Because many other states are also in need of additional staff to cope with the current wave of COVID cases, the market for staff is very competitive,” Anton said.

The Biden administration announced on Sept. 10 that it planned to release more than $25.5 billion to help health care providers deal with COVID-19.

“The funding for hospitals is not coming through the state health department,” Anton said. “It may be going through the federal agency — Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.”

The rise of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are also affecting nursing students

“COVID-19 has, if anything, made me feel more determined to start my nursing career because it really brought the need for nurses to the forefront of the healthcare perspective, and it also emphasized how vital nurses are to keeping hospitals running,” said Clarice Flores, a Texas Woman’s University nursing junior.

Abbott’s Aug. 9 press release also stated that the governor directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management and DSHS to open additional centers for COVID-19 antibody infusion. Infusion centers treat patients who do not need to be hospitalized with therapeutic drugs to prevent their conditions from worsening. The goal of increasing the number of infusion centers in Texas is to keep hospitals open for the patients that require the most intense care.

TDEM and DSHS were also directed to increase vaccine availability across the state and encourage all Texans to get vaccinated.

Featured Image: A reading “heroes work here” stands in front of Medical City Denton on Sept. 13, 2021. Photo by John Anderson

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John Anderson

John Anderson

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