Texas Medical Center reports only 4% uptick in ICU bed use despite continued COVID-19 case increases

Compared to 1,350 total intensive care unit beds in use June 30, the Texas Medical Center has seen only a slight uptick in occupancies since then, with 1,394 reported in use July 9, according to the medical center's public reports.

Those occupancy numbers still mean the TMC is in its Phase 2 surge levels, however, which allocates an additional 373 ICU beds on top of TMC’s Phase 1 base ICU capacity of 1,330 beds, in addition to more staff and equipment.

This comes as the TMC reports an average of 412 new daily COVID-19 hospitalizations in its hospitals across nine counties in the Greater Houston area in the last two days. Compared to the last seven days, COVID-19 admissions have followed a 4.3% daily growth rate.

COVID-19 hospitalizations overall have jumped in the last several days at the medical center, at 2,365 reported July 9, up from 1,747 on June 30, an over 26% increase.

With those hospitalizations, 646 COVID-19 patients are now in the ICU, an 11% increase from June 30 numbers. As of July 9, COVID-19 patients make up 46% of the medical center’s current ICU bed capacity. The remaining 54% make up 748 beds occupied by noncoronavirus patients.


While ICU occupancy is on the rise, so are beds used for general medical/surgical use, TMC data shows. ICU bed usage has maintained a 3.2% average daily growth over the last seven days, while medical/surgical bed use is on a 3.3% rise.

It should be noted these rates have slowed compared to the week of June 30, when the medical center reported a 4% daily growth in occupancy of ICU beds and 6.3% daily growth in occupancy of medical/surgical beds.

At current growth rates, the TMC will not need to enter Phase 3 ICU bed capacity levels until July 22. Such a move would mean further planned utilization of Phase 2 levels of surge capacity to provide additional temporary ICU capacity with 504 more beds.

“This can be managed by appropriately transferring patients from ICU to Medical/Surgical beds and potentially by delaying some procedures,” the TMC wrote on its dashboard slides about the data.

This comes as Gov. Greg Abbott has attempted to free up more beds for future COVID-19 patients by ordering the postponement of all non-medically necessary surgeries in hospitals across more than 100 Texas counties July 9. This is in addition to a previous executive order by Abbott on June 25 that required hospitals only in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties to postpone all non-medically necessary surgeries and procedures unrelated to COVID-19 during the pandemic.
By Hunter Marrow
Hunter Marrow came to Community Impact Newspaper in January 2020. Before that, Hunter covered local news in Ontario, OR for three years, covering municipal issues, crime, and education across Malheur County and across the border into Idaho.


MOST RECENT

The overall death total in Harris County hit 805, with the majority of deaths—78%—occurring in individuals ages 60 and older. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: 17 deaths confirmed Aug. 5, including man in his 20s

The overall death total hit 805, with the majority of deaths—78%—occurring in individuals ages 60 and older.

Restaurants in Houston can now opt to take up to 50% of its designated parking spaces to create outdoor dining space as long as COVID-19 restrictions remain in effect. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)
Houston restaurants can now tap parking lots for outdoor dining

Houston City Council has approved a proposal to allow restaurants to take over 50% of their parking spaces to expand outdoor dining capacity.

Another $20 million in relief will be available soon for Houston residents struggling to pay rent. (Community Impact staff)
Houston OKs $20M in rent relief with provision to delay evictions

The new funds will also be prioritzed to the most vulnerable residents rather than a first-come, first-served process.

The Confederate Soldiers Monument stands on the south grounds of the Texas Capitol. A group of Democratic lawmakers have called for its removal, along with other statues and portraits honoring the Confederacy. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
State legislators seek removal of Confederate monuments at Texas Capitol

The decision may ultimately lie with Gov. Greg Abbott and the rest of the State Preservation Board, which last year authorized the removal of a plaque in the Capitol that said slavery was not an underlying cause of the Confederate rebellion.

This map shows the corridors that will be subject to new transit-oriented development rules, which are designed to improve access to high-capacity transit options. (Courtesy City of Houston)
Houston adopts new development rules to promote walkable, transit-oriented projects

New development moving forward will have to conform to new standards along transit corridors and new "Walkable Places" areas.

Bellaire has begun the process of applying for COVID-19 relief funds from Harris County. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Bellaire seeking over $1 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding

Eligible uses include public health and safety payroll, equipment and grant programs.

A total of 723 of the new cases were confirmed in Harris County outside of the city of Houston, which is the most to be confirmed outside of the city in a single day. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: 1,438 new cases, 22 deaths confirmed Aug. 4

A total of 723 of the new cases were confirmed in Harris County outside of the city of Houston, which is the most to be confirmed outside of the city in a single day.

With some Harris County residents waiting up to two weeks to get test results, the county has announced a maximum turnaround time of 3-5 days on county-sponsored tests moving forward. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Harris County announces evening testing hours, faster turnaround on COVID-19 tests

With some Harris County residents waiting up to two weeks to get test results, the county has announced a maximum turnaround time of 3-5 days on county-sponsored tests moving forward.

In the last year, Whataburger launched a new, modern restaurant design and began offering curbside and delivery services for the first time amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the release. (Courtesy Elizabeth James for Whataburger)
Whataburger to celebrate 70th anniversary, unveil food truck, expand into 3 states

Nine more new Whataburger locations are planned by year's end, and 35 new restaurants are proposed for 2021.