HealthcareLocal NewsPresident of Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council Tells Public Not to Panic Over Coronavirus Numbers

Even with rising hospitalizations of COVID-19 cases, the hospitals in the DFW region are still well prepared to handle a surge of cases, according to the president of the regional hospital council.
June 25, 2020
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While the public has seen a renewed panic concerning the rising number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in the state, Stephen Love, the president of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, published a statement to allay fears that the caseload is spiraling out of control.

“We want the people of North Texas to please not panic regarding the COVID-19 virus,” said Love. “The virus has created increased hospitalizations over the past two weeks, but we have capacity in North Texas in our hospitals.”

As of Wednesday, the state reports that the health region of the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area has 1,130 COVID-19 patients hospitalized. Love said that about 35 percent of those are in ICU beds.

The region — “Trauma Service Area E” by the Department of State Health Service’s labeling — includes 19 counties: Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Erath, Fannin, Grayson, Hood, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Navarro, Palo Pinto, Parker, Rockwall, Somervell, Tarrant, and Wise.

According to data from DSHS, the number of coronavirus hospitalizations in the region has roughly doubled since the end of May. Prior to that, the number of hospitalizations had remained relatively steady, with a slight increase in late April and a slight decrease in mid-May.

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Data from the Texas Department of State Health Services, June 24, 2020.

The number of daily reported new cases by DSHS has followed a similar trend, though was likely affected by a steady increase in the number of tests conducted.

Data from the Texas Department of State Health Services, June 24, 2020.

Dallas and Tarrant counties account for the largest share of active estimated cases in the DFW area: about 5,700 and 4,400, respectively. Denton and Collin counties also make up significant portions of the total at around 1,100 and 900 cases, respectively.

Data from the Texas Department of State Health Services, June 24, 2020.

But even with the rising numbers, Love notes that COVID-19 patients make up a small portion of the overall capacity that the hospital system is prepared to handle.

“The COVID-19 patients hospitalized represent less than 10 percent of our hospitalized patients,” said Love. “While we acknowledge the COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased recently, we currently have over 5,200 available beds within our North Texas trauma service area, running approximately 69 percent hospital occupancy rate.”

Love has reportedly said that no hospital in the DFW system has had to resort to its surge plans yet.

“We all need to work together to slow the COVID-19 virus spread and at the same time keep our economy open,” said Love. “Some individual actions would be to wear facial coverings in public, wash your hands frequently, utilize social distancing, and practice good personal hygiene. We are all in this together and if we do our part, we will prevail.”

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said on Thursday that the DFW Hospital Council and Dallas County did not want to prepare the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center to be used as a temporary hospital at this time.

“They believe they are capable of handling a COVID-19 hospitalization surge in their existing medical facilities,” said Johnson.

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Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.