DALLAS – About 3,000 people are suffering from COVID-19 in hospitals in the North Texas region as of Friday.
Although some out-of-state resources are being incorporated, they are still not enough to alleviate the burden on tired health workers. For large and small, urban and rural hospitals, the problem is supply and demand.
“Every day gets darker, we certainly take care of ourselves every day,” said Donna Richardson, vice president and director of nursing at Parkland Hospital.
Parkland has nearly 150 patients with critical care for COVID-19.
“Staffing is a daily struggle. It can actually be an hour-by-hour struggle,” Richardson said.
It was a relief when 34 outpatient nurses and medical-surgical nurses arrived this week, who received applause from the staff.
“It almost looked like the cavalry was coming,” he said. “The bus showed up and was applauded when the staff got off the bus.”
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Across the 19-county trauma services region that covers most of North Texas, there is a lack of capacity.
“We have 92% occupancy in our hospitals in general. In the pediatric population it is a little over 94%,” said Stephen Love of the DFW Hospital Council.
Fort Worth County Hospital John Peter Smith, as Parkland, received a staff backup along with Methodist Dallas.
“Nurses and respiratory therapists have started arriving at some of our hospitals and we look forward to receiving other team members soon,” a Methodist spokesman said.
Baylor Scott and White know help will arrive, but he’s not here yet.
“We have received a warning from the state that we will be assigned additional nurses and respiratory therapists. The dates of arrival of state resources are yet to be determined,” a Baylor spokesman said.
Requests for assistance exceed what is likely to be deployed in the region. Love estimated that only next week an additional 200 medical professionals would be deployed in the area.
Richardson, of Parkland, says they have two needs, both critical.
“We definitely need more staff above all that we’re going down about 500 nurses, so 34 is definitely a little bit of help. But obviously we need more and we need people to get vaccinated so the influx of patients will stop. “, he said.
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