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Healthcare providers address the increase in emergency room wait times

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emergency room(kbtx)
Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 8:25 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Brazos County hospitals are feeling the strain as more COVID-19 patients need treatment.

The Brazos County Health District reported Wednesday that COVID-19 patients are making up a little more than 20% of the total hospital capacity.

According to the state dashboard Region N, where Brazos County falls under, there are zero ICU beds available.

CapRock Health System Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lon Young says in the last few weeks, visits to their hospital have increased two to three times more than usual.

“It does require a little bit more additional staffing and being careful about having an adequate number of people on call, and increasing our supplies. Everything from just simple gowns to PPE,” said Dr. Young.

Young says although patients vary in different care needs, most patients being admitted to CapRock are COVID-19 patients.

“We’re experiencing, like everyone in the state, difficulties in finding beds available to transfer our patients to. That’s required us to extend the type of care that we normally give and provide care that’s more critical than we normally do,” said Young.

Brazos County Health Authority Dr. Seth Sullivan says what’s challenging right now is staffing.

“The challenge here is that it doesn’t take long for resources to be overwhelmed and we’ve seen that, and we’ve got so close to this in January. So the question really is, what’s going to happen in these next couple weeks,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan says the best way to keep our hospitals from being overwhelmed is by getting vaccinated.

KBTX received reports that hospital emergency rooms were experience increased wait times. We reached out to both St. Joseph Health and Baylor Scott and White who responded with these statements:

St. Joseph Health Statement:

St. Joseph Health does not have plans to close any of our emergency departments at this time. Wait times currently experienced at St. Joseph Health Emergency Departments fluctuate daily, on a continuous basis. The current COVID-19 wave may increase wait times. At this time St. Joseph Health is still performing scheduled procedures in our hospital facilities, but is following the Governor’s recent recommendation to evaluate our ability to perform surgeries while ensuring we are capable of treating patients safely due to the present COVID surge. This evaluation process is occurring daily.

Baylor Scott and White Statement:

In a true emergency, we always advise our patients to call 9-1-1 and visit an emergency room. Patients who visit the emergency room for minor issues may experience wait times while others with critical needs are treated first. When experiencing symptoms that are non-life-threatening, we encourage patients to utilize various other care options. These include:

  • Urgent care at our University Drive clinic where patients can walk in and be seen same day
  • Primary care clinics where patients will see a provider who knows their health history
  • eVisits where patients answer questions online and receive a diagnosis on the MyBSWHealth app
  • Video visits, where patients have a live video interaction with a provider

Any Texan can create a MyBSWHealth account by downloading the MyBSWHealth app, simply text BETTER to 88408 or visit MyBSWHealth.com.

As a reminder, a hospital emergency room can provide evaluation and treatment for serious, life-threatening or disabling conditions, including:

  • Chest pain
  • Sudden loss of balance, vision change, facial droop, arm or leg weakness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe abdominal pain, coughing or vomiting blood
  • Deep cuts or wounds
  • Severe burns
  • Severe head injuries
  • Poisoning, overdoses, and suicidal behavior

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