Local hospitals preparing for increase in COVID-19 patients

HOUSTON – As numbers begin to climb, hospitals in our area say they’re bracing for impact.


At Memorial Hermann, they say they are planning for a significant rise in numbers because of holiday gatherings.

“I don’t think there’s anyone studying this carefully that does not think that’s going to happen. We are absolutely going to have a rise, we are without question going to see a significant increase in hospitalizations. I think we’re going to see a shift in the age because of family units gathering and the folks who have been really careful kind of getting together with their families … We’ve had a steady increase over the last couple of weeks and the trajectory of that is not changing yet,” said physician executive for the Memorial Hermann Health System, Dr. James McCarthy.


While Ben Taub General Hospital said their ICU capacity is manageable, as cases continue to climb, “that will certainly change.”


The same grim warning comes from Methodist who says almost 400 of their hospital beds are currently occupied by COVID-19 patients and since recently getting approval to administer an antibody concoction, they said they treated 24 patients with it on Friday alone.

They’re hopeful that will help to reduce the rates of hospitalizations and keep beds available.

“The outcomes from hospitalizations have improved and we’ve gotten better at taking care of patients,” said pulmonologist Dr. Howard Huang. “My concern would be that right now we, we have a limited supply of these medications to give people so if people continue to be infected by the thousands and we can only treat dozens or hundreds of patients … we’re going to come up short if we continue to have an escalating infection rate.”


“We are actively planning to care for a surge of patients and are well prepared to effectively and expertly care for all patients throughout any surge in flu and/or COVID-19 patients in our care sites. We have learned a great deal throughout the COVID-19 pandemic that informs our preparation for the next potential surge. We have detailed plans in place to expand our critical care capacity should we need to do so. These plans, which are continuously reviewed and adjusted as needed, include accommodating more critical care patients in our facility and providing additional staff as needed. As in the past, we will continue to supplement and adjust our staffing as-needed basis until any patient surge subsides.”