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Exclusive: New data details growing capacity concerns for area hospitals

According to a report obtained by KBTX, 52 patients with COVID-19 related illnesses were in Brazos County hospitals.
Published: Jun. 19, 2020 at 10:09 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Hospital data obtained Friday by KBTX shows area healthcare facilities are facing increasing capacity challenges as the number of COVID-19 cases in the Brazos Valley continue to rise at record rates.

A situational report filed on Thursday, June 18, shows hospitals in Bryan and College Station were at 84% capacity with 124 beds available. Intensive Care Units are at 97% capacity with 14 rooms available. Ventilators are at 31% usage with 37 available. Trends for both hospital and ICU capacity continue to rise, while ventilator occupancy is trending slightly downward.

“We’re not at a panic mode of looking for extra staffing or those extra things, but we’re getting close,” said Brazos County Alternate Health Authority Dr. Seth Sullivan in an interview Wednesday with KBTX.

In Thursday’s report that was shared with local emergency and health authorities, hospitals in Brazos County reported a total of 52 patients with COVID-19 related illnesses. Of that total, 27 are Brazos County residents with confirmed cases of COVID-19. The others are residents from area counties who have been admitted to Brazos County hospitals and patients without a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.

In Thursday’s report, CHI St. Joseph in Bryan and CHI St. Jospeh in College Station reported 100% occupancy for total staffed ICU beds. On Friday afternoon, the hospitals were put on “ICU Divert” status for several hours.

“It doesn’t mean we aren’t accepting patients. It does not mean that EMS bypasses the hospital. It’s simply a communication tool for the community healthcare coalition to know what’s going on within a certain healthcare system,” said Kristen Christen, CHI St. Joseph Health Director of Emergency Services. “It’s a healthcare community coming together and saying ‘yes, I can help you out.' We can’t go onto divert without another hospital agreeing to it.”

“We’re not at a panic mode of looking for extra staffing or those extra things, but we’re getting close.”

Dr. Seth Sullivan

Total hospital bed occupancy for all hospitals in Brazos, Grimes, Madison, and Washington Counties is 67%. In Washington County, four people with the virus were admitted into a hospital in Brenham. No other area counties reported patients hospitalized with the virus.

For additional information about Friday’s numbers in Brazos County click here.

State officials including Governor Greg Abbott said this week there are still plenty of hospital beds and ventilators in the state for patients who need them. In it’s latest report on Friday, The Texas Department of Health and Human Services reported 3,138 total COVID-19 patients hospitalized. 13,591 hospital beds were still available including 1,443 ICU beds and nearly 6,000 ventilators ready to use.

To see a full breakdown of hospital data across Texas click here.

“Right now at this moment in time, I feel like the community is safe in regards to having healthcare being available for them at any of the facilities,” said Christen.

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