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Texas Medical Center calls for community support as COVID-19 pandemic continues

The medical center has the needed supplies for now but is preparing for a surge in cases just in case.

HOUSTON — The Texas Medical Center is calling for community support as the coronavirus pandemic continues, affecting both the world and the Greater Houston area. 

The medical center released some informative graphics Wednesday that shed light on the region's fight against COVID-19. In a presentation shared with KHOU, the medical center says “while the total number of COVID-19 cases in Houston is unknown, we are planning for different scenarios.”

“To succeed, we will need active support from the community as well as local, state and federal authorities.”

A couple of numbers to note as of April 7:

Credit: Texas Medical Center
  • TMC has cared for 1,086 patients.

Of which:

  • 747 are currently hospitalized
  • 289 have been discharged
  • 50 have died

Number of positive cases

Credit: Texas Medical Center

Greater Houston has seen its COVID-19 cases increase from 58 on March 20 to 2,757 as of April 7, according to TMC data.

The medical center notes that the case load at its hospitals is up three times that of cases seven days ago.

ICU beds

Credit: Texas Medical Center
  • Patients with COVID-19 make up 25 percent of intensive care beds in the medical center, or 368 beds.
  • Non-COVID-19 patients account for 487 ICU beds, or 33 percent.

“TMC is preparing personnel to address surge capacity needs,” officials said.

Ventilators 

Credit: Texas Medical Center

Most COVID-19 patients in ICU require a ventilator, TMC says, and even in moderate practices of social distancing would likely put a strain on available ventilators.

TMC notes that:

  • Six percent of ventilators are being used by COVID-19 patients
  • 15 percent are being used by non-COVID-19 patients

Social distancing 

Credit: Texas Medical Center

With maximum social distancing in Greater Houston, TMC said it has the supplies needed to treat the coronavirus—from N95 masks, personal protection equipment and ventilators.

But as social distancing decreases, so do the necessary supplies needed.

“For example, TMC could need anywhere between 500,000 to 3,400,000 incremental N95 masks to treat COVID-19 patients,” the medical center notes.

See the full presentation here.

Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Some patients also have nausea, headaches and stomach issues.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk for becoming seriously ill. However, U.S. experts are seeing a significant number of younger people being hospitalized, including some in ICU.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...

  • The air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Help stop the spread of coronavirus

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Eat and sleep separately from your family members
  • Use different utensils and dishes
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
  • If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
  • Follow social distancing

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

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