‘Alarming’ Surge Of Cases In Texas Could Overwhelm ICUs, But Governor Hesitant To Shut Back Down
Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has done an about-face of sorts since he pushed the state to reopen in May. As Texas' case counts skyrocket, Abbott has tried to impose new rules to help flatten the curve once more, but he sees another shutdown as a last option.
The New York Times:
Virus Cases Are Soaring In Texas. But Closing Down Again Is A ‘Last Option.’
The coronavirus has been testing America’s governors. Few are being squeezed harder than Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas. Mr. Abbott, the governor of the country’s largest Republican-controlled state, reopened Texas in May, eager to be part of President Trump’s push to restart the economy sooner rather than later. But the reopening has backfired, creating the makings of a political and public health disaster that is putting the lives of Texans at risk, adding ammunition to Mr. Abbott’s long-running war with the Democrats who run the state’s biggest cities and drawing unusually sharp criticism from fellow Republicans. (Fernandez, MacFarquhar and Mervosh, 6/24)
Abbott Orders New COVID-19 Rules For Texas Child Care Centers After Prior Restrictions Dropped
As cases of the novel coronavirus continued to be confirmed in Texas’ licensed child care centers, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered new rules Tuesday — less than two weeks after the state dropped earlier emergency restrictions for providers. Child care centers, such as day care, before- and after-school programs and registered homes, had not been required to enforce measures such as screening for illness since June 12, when providers were notified by email that the emergency rules were no longer in effect, a decision made by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. (Dellinger, 6/24)
Dallas Morning News:
Dallas County Reports Jump In Coronavirus Hospitalizations, 391 New Cases
Coronavirus hospitalizations in Dallas County are continuing to rise, officials said Wednesday as they reported 391 new cases of infection with the virus. Four more county residents have died from COVID-19: a Cedar Hill man in his 80s, a Dallas woman in her 80s who lived at a long-term care facility, a Grand Prairie man in his 60s and a Grand Prairie woman in her 80s. All four had underlying high-risk health conditions. (Jones, 6/24)
Houston ICU Capacity Could Soon Be Exceeded As COVID-19 Hospitalizations Worsen, TMC Projects
The Texas Medical Center’s intensive care capacity could be exceeded as soon as Thursday because of the surge in COVID-19 patients, the hospital system projects. A TMC model also predicts ICU surge capacity — extra, temporary beds and equipment used in emergencies — could be exceeded as soon as July 6 if the steep rate of new COVID hospitalizations continues, the most aggressive modeling to date. (Despart, 6/24)
With COVID-19 Cases Surging In Houston, A Reminder To Stay Cautious. Here’s How.
A few weekends ago, my significant other and I ventured to Lucille’s in the Museum District for brunch, hopeful that we could dine on their outdoor patio. I paid for parking, strapped on a surgical mask and set out, determined to enjoy a plate of chili biscuits and chicken & waffles. When we arrived at noon, the crowds out front looked like something from the Before Times, clustered in groups with no masks and no care for social distancing. An overwhelmed hostess told us it’d be an hour and 40 minutes. (Wu, 6/24)
Houston On Verge Of Crisis Amid Surging COVID-19 Cases
Doctors are monitoring more than 15,400 active cases in the Houston area. Hospitalizations have tripled in the weeks since Memorial Day, worrying some health experts who fear repeating scenes from Italy, where at the height of the coronavirus's worst days in April doctors had to make heart-wrenching decisions about who would get care and who would not. “The health professionals are nervous, but they are also up for it,” said Kelli Drenner, a public health expert at the University of Houston. “People are concerned that this is a big deal and that the public isn't taking it seriously. And that undermines all our efforts.” (Wilson, 6/24)
Hospital Chief Talks Texas's Rising Coronavirus Cases: 'People Have Completely Let Their Guard Down'
The head of one of Houston's largest hospitals told "Good Morning America" that the rise of coronavirus cases in the city and state is due to people taking the outbreak lightly and urged people to take precautions. Dr. Marc Boom, the CEO of Houston Methodist, which has over 3,000 beds across eight medical centers including 907 beds at its flagship hospital, said his facilities are not at the tipping point but all hospitals in the city have seen cases triple over the last few weeks. Harris County, Texas, which includes Houston, has seen 10,360 new COVID-19 cases since the beginning of June, averaging about 431 new cases a day, according to data from the county health department. (Pereira, 6/24)
Dallas Morning News:
Dallas City, County Leaders To Discuss Opening Hospital At Convention Center As COVID-19 Cases Stir Capacity Concerns
City and county leaders will meet Thursday with the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council to discuss opening a pop-up medical facility at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to rise. After Gov. Greg Abbott announced the convention center in late March as the site of Texas’ first pop-up hospital for coronavirus patients, officials said it would be opened as a “last resort” if hospitals became overwhelmed. (Branham and Morris, 6/24)
Harris Health Gets $50 Million In Federal COVID-19 Relief
Harris Health System received $50 million in federal relief funds for safety net hospitals suffering from decreased revenues due to COVID-19, said Dr. Esmaeil Porsa, the system’s president. Federal officials said in early June they would dole out $10 billion in funding to medical systems that serve high volumes of uninsured and Medicaid patients. The disbursements were based on the number of Medicaid patients seen, the cost of uncompensated care per bed and how profitable it was. Each qualifying hospital received a minimum of $5 million. (Wu, 6/24)