Statements From Local Hospitals Following First Report Of ICU Bed Occupancy Rate Exceeding 100 Percent

WTAW 1620 94.5 Coronavirus COVID-19 Featured

The Brazos County health department reported for the first time during the pandemic that on December 30, the local hospital ICU bed occupancy rate exceeding 100 percent at 104 percent.

WTAW News asked CHI-St. Joseph Health and College Station’s Baylor Scott & White hospital where they are placing the overflow ICU patients.

According to a statement from a Baylor Scott & White spokeswoman, they have enacted the first phase of surge plans. That’s after the number of hospitalizations, including ICU patients, hit a pandemic high. They are asking “the public to embrace a sense of urgency” in following pandemic prevention guidelines. Quoting the statement, “If the current surge continues and our ICU occupancy rate continues to increase, our medical center may not be able to meet the demand for non-COVID healthcare needs. We can avoid this if we change course now.”

A statement from a CHI St. Joseph Health spokeswoman said in part that they have “a surge plan in place to ensure care is provided for those who require hospital level care”, and that they “continue to remain stable and able to care for all patients needing hospital-level care”.

Statement from College Station’s Baylor Scott & White hospital:

For months, our health system has prepared to address the anticipated needs of this pandemic and has surge plans in place to successfully manage capacity to continue treating both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.

Our hospitalization rate – including the number of patients being treated in our intensive care unit (ICU) – is higher today than it has been at any other point in the pandemic. We have enacted the first phase of our surge plans to accommodate patients who are in need of intensive care.

If the current surge continues and our ICU occupancy rate continues to increase, our medical center may not be able to meet the demand for non-COVID healthcare needs. We can avoid this if we change course now.

To continue ensuring that our hospitals are ready for those who need care most during this time, we ask that the public embrace a sense of urgency in following the recommended guidelines of physical distancing, masking and practicing good hand hygiene as we approach the New Year. We know these safety measures can be difficult, but they are proven measures to stop the spread of the virus.

The safety and well-being of our community starts with each member and the decisions we each make. Each member of the community has a role to play in preventing hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions while protecting ourselves, our loved ones and our communities.

Baylor Scott & White will continue to do what it takes to meet the healthcare needs of our community.

Statement from CHI St. Joseph Health:

St. Joseph Health is busy, as is usual, especially at this time of year; however, we continue to remain stable and able to care for all patients needing hospital-level care. Our ICU capacity fluctuates on a constant basis throughout the day. Reports that we are at or above capacity do not indicate that we do not have the resources to care for our community. Should the situation continue to escalate, St. Joseph Health has a surge plan in place to ensure care is provided for those who require hospital-level care.

In this critical time, we must work together to preserve space in our hospitals. The best way to do this is to follow public health guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Please remember this simple prescription: Don’t Share Your Air. Wear a mask, social distance, and get the COVID-19 vaccine when It is available to you.