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Houston hospitals notice less COVID-19 ICU patients, warn they're still full

Dr. Bela Patel says in the last two weeks, she's noticed about a 10% decrease in ICU patients at Memorial Hermann in the Texas Medical Center.

HOUSTON — In one of the busiest intensive care units in the Texas Medical Center, there's a glimmer of hope that social-distancing efforts are paying off.

“Seems like with the mask mandate in Houston, and people starting to pay attention to what we need to do, which is social distancing and mask-wearing, that we're seeing the downstream effects in the ICUs," said Dr. Bela Patel, of Memorial Hermann and UTHealth.

She’s the head of the ICU in the Texas Medical Center. Patel says Memorial Hermann is starting to see decreasing numbers of patients in their ICUs. She said they've seen about a 10% decrease in the past two weeks. But, she cautions, they’re still full.

"We have lots of patients on ventilators, lots of patients who are continuing to need ICU care," she said.

Patel worries what the next few weeks will bring as the school year begins.

“I think I am concerned with going back to school and with that affecting our positivity rates,” Patel said.

She says we can't let down our guard.

“This virus is still very prevalent in Houston. Our positivity rates are still high. We need to keep driving down those positivity rates before we can take any break in our new normal," Patel said.


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