AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday that the state has increased hospital bed capacity by 142% since the start of March and there are now more than 19,000 beds available across the state.
Here are the major points Abbott made during his update:
- According to Abbott, his executive order to postpone non-essential procedures and doctor’s visits and his waiver to allow double occupancy at hospitals has allowed the state to go from 8,155 available beds to 19,695 beds available to treat coronavirus patients.
- Abbott also said there are more than 2,000 ICU beds available.
- The state is working to keep those beds staffed
- Abbott issued waivers that allow out-of-state doctors and nurses as well as retired medical professionals to practice in the state. These waivers ensure that those additional beds will be staffed, according to Abbott.
- The governor said the strike force has identified 8,742 ventilators that can be used for patients who need them and is currently working to identify more.
- Abbott said the goal is to make sure Texas does not go through what New York did where they through there were enough ventilators and other supplies but then realized they needed more. Abbott said his goal for the state is to get ahead of a potential spike and be prepared.
Physician and former member of the Texas House of Representatives, Dr. John Zerwas broke down the categories of available beds during the news conference.
According to Zerwas, there are five levels:
These are beds, equipment and staff that are available as of today, Zerwas said. All the beds Abbott mentioned are in this level, according to Zerwas.
These are beds that can be “surged into,” according to Zerwas. If the equipment and staff for these beds is provided, that will open up another 7,600 beds for sick people.
Zerwas said there are also an additional 2,200 beds that can be used for ICU patients, and if they use a double occupancy waiver, that opens up another 2,200 beds.
According to Zerwas, that is well over 10,000 beds that are ready to go, they just need to the staff and equipment.
This is looking at how to use beds differently. Zerwas gave the example of post-anesthesia beds. He said those are essentially ICU beds and they can be repurposed and used for coronavirus patients. Zerwas said operating rooms could also be used to house patients.
These are beds that are not in hospitals but are in places that people can be taken care of such as free-standing ER, ambulatory surgery centers, nursing home etc. Hospitals can reach out to places and run those places under their license.
These are non-traditional locations such as hotels, motels or hospitals that the federal government has stood up, Zerwas said. These places where patients who are not requiring a lot of extra care or who are recovering can stay, according to Zerwas.
You can watch the full briefing below: