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State sets new record for COVID patients in Texas hospitals

Right now, there are 11,351 COVID patients in Texas hospitals. That's the highest number since the pandemic began.

HOUSTON — There are now more COVID patients in Texas hospitals than at any point during the pandemic.

On Monday, the state reports 11,351 patients with lab-confirmed COVID cases in Texas hospitals. That’s a record high, passing the state’s previous record of 10,893 in July.

Editor's note: Video above is from our sister stations, KVUE in Austin, about their hospital capacity.

Capacity in Texas Medical Center

Here in the Texas Medical Center, on Sunday, there were 247 new hospitalizations. But while Medical Center new hospitalizations are trending slightly up, numbers of new patients being reported are lower than new hospitalizations during the July peak.

Below is a graph showing new COVID hospitalizations in the Med Center. 

Credit: Texas Medical Center
Screen grab from Texas Medical Center's website on 12/28

You can check the graph anytime here.

The Med Center is back to operating its ICU in phase 1.  Right now, there are 1,298 of the 1,330 total ICU beds in phase 1 being used in the Medical Center. Thirty percent -- or 404 -- of those are taken by COVID patients.

Just a couple weeks back, the Med Center had moved into phase 2.  

What are 'Phases 2 and 3’ of intensive care at the Medical Center?

ICU phase 2 allocates an extra 373 beds to handle an increase in patients, regardless of their diagnoses.

There is also a Phase 3, which doctors are prepared for. They hope we can stop spreading the virus so that the extra 504 beds allocated for Phase 3 do not have to be used.

Dr. James McDeavitt, SVP and Dean of clinical affairs for Baylor College of Medicine said earlier that hospital staff can sustain Phase 3 for roughly 4 weeks, if necessary, but that longer than that would start to overwhelm healthcare workers, and affect patient treatment.

Vaccines being administered in Texas

After months of isolation, some seniors are a big step closer to reuniting with friends and family.

COVID-19 vaccines started arriving at nursing homes in Texas Monday.

Kathleen Dixon is vice president of Atria Senior Living, which has several locations in the Houston area. She says CVS pharmacists started administering vaccines in Cinco Ranch and Kingwood Monday. Their other facilities are scheduled to get the vaccine later this week.

Pathways Memory Care at Villa Toscana, which is a Stonegate Senior Living property, will get shots through Walgreens on Tuesday. There are currently 53 residents living in that community.

“The family members of our residents are ready to see their loved ones and come and go as they please,” said Angela Norris, senior vice president of strategic relations and managed care at Stonegate Senior Living.

CVS, Walgreens, and Managed Health Care Associates are partnering with the CDC for the vaccine program. Teams of pharmacists will visit each nursing home three times, so all residents and staff have the chance to get both doses of the vaccine.

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