Texas Medical Center: Despite declining hospitalizations, COVID-19 ICU use continues to rise

Despite a slight dip in the number of COVID-19 patients getting hospitalized across Texas Medical Center, the number of those patients occupying intensive care units increased week over week, according to the medical center’s public data reports.

There were 2,327 COVID-19 patients in TMC hospitals July 19, a 5% decline compared to a week ago. Of those, 664 patients were in an ICU, a 3% increase since July 9.

With that bump, nearly half of all ICU beds in use in TMC institutions were occupied by patients with the viral disease.

The TMC remains in Phase 2 of its capacity protocol, designed to address surge levels in ICU patient numbers by allocating an additional 373 ICU beds on top of the medical center’s base ICU capacity of 1,330 beds. TMC entered Phase 1 on July 1 when ICU patient levels eclipsed the number of beds the medical center was able to provide in its base capacity.

At its current ICU occupancy growth, TMC would have at least two weeks before it would need to enter Phase 3 in its planning protocol. Such a move would mean further use of Phase 2 levers of surge capacity to add 504 more beds.


As it deals with more COVID-19 ICU patients, fewer new patients overall were hospitalized, with 269 new patients, down from a peak of 446 reported July 5. Also, COVID-19 hospitalization numbers have been on a downward trend over the past week—a 4.1% decline—though still remain above where they were last month, when new daily numbers were hitting 186.

Meanwhile, the Greater Houston area averaged 2,366 new cases per day over the last week, the TMC reported, more than five times the number observed during the peak in April.
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.


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