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How this recent COVID-19 hospitalization surge is affecting Brazos Valley hospitals

Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 10:37 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - For weeks, Brazos County health officials have stressed the increase in COVID-19 cases that are hitting the two major hospital systems in the Brazos Valley.

Both Baylor Scott & White Health, and St. Joseph Health have multiple locations throughout the Brazos Valley, but officials with both hospitals say that those patients with a need for intensive care are being transferred to the locations in Bryan and College Station.

Tuesday, the Department of State Health Services reported 10,041 total COVID-19 hospitalizations in Texas. With about 29 million residents, only 329 ICU beds are available.

In Trauma Service Region N, where the Brazos Valley is located, there are 119 COVID-19 patients in hospitals. The Brazos County Health District is reporting 37 of those hospitalizations are residents in their county.

Between St. Joseph Health, and Baylor Scott & White Health’s three locations in Brazos County, the Brazos Valley Regional Advisory Council says there are 600 beds in Brazos County. Madison and Burleson County each have 30 beds, and Grimes County has 32. Washington County has 56.

KBTX reached out to surrounding counties to find out how many residents are hospitalized from there, and those who responded say they do not get that information, even though they would like to.

The Brazos County Health District says they get daily updates from the hospitals in the area with the number of their residents hospitalized.

KBTX asked both St. Joseph Health and Baylor Scott & White Health, but both hospital systems could not tell us how many COVID-19 patients they currently have in their main hospitals in Bryan and College Station.

Both hospital systems have other locations throughout the Brazos Valley. St. Joseph has locations in Grimes, Burleson, and Madison County. Baylor Scott & White has a location in Brenham.

In a statement to KBTX, St. Joseph Health said, “In rare cases, patients with COVID-19 illness are stable enough to be kept at our critical access hospitals. However, many of our patients that need the higher level of care are transferred to our Regional or College Station Hospital. St. Joseph Health Regional and College Station Hospitals evaluate transfer requests from St. Joseph Health Critical Access Hospitals for patients needing intensive care or aggressive respiratory therapies on a case by case basis. Thankfully, we have had the resources and capabilities to accept these patients needing intensive care or aggressive respiratory therapies thus far. Once improved, but still too weak to go home, these patients can be transferred back to the Critical Access Hospital to receive rehabilitative care closer to home.”

Baylor Scott & White sent a statement saying, “When appropriate, those needing in-patient care for COVID-19 infections are transferred from lower level facilities in surrounding counties, like our facility in Brenham, to another facility for a higher level of care, like Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – College Station.

The number of COVID-19 positive patients in our College Station region has increased by 760% since the beginning of June.”

Both hospitals could not confirm if they are receiving any transfers of COVID-19 patients from other regions, especially those that are seeing high numbers of hospitalizations.

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