Verbal and physical attacks on health workers surge as emotions boil during latest COVID-19 wave
Stressed health workers are now confronting volatile visitors and patients. “The verbal abuse, the name-calling, racial slurs … we’ve had broken bones, broken noses,” said one hospital official in Dallas.
At least 26 Texas hospitals were out of ICU beds last week, according to the latest federal data. Look up the ones near you.
Each week, hospitals in Texas report their current ICU bed capacity to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Here’s the latest as the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19 spreads and sends unvaccinated Texans to the hospital.
‘Our emergency departments are overcrowded’: Ambulances seeing longer wait times at Houston hospitals as COVID cases surge
In 2016, an independent study commissioned by the city of Houston called for 70 “peak time” ambulances to be added to the Houston Fire Department in order to effectively serve the city’s population.
Nurses urge Texans to get vaccinated, say they’re overwhelmed as hospital admissions continue to rise
While supporting mandatory vaccines for nurses, Texas Nurses Association officials say nurses do have the right to chose, but they also have the right to choose a different career field that doesn’t put themselves and others in harm’s way.
Exclusive Poll: Hospital Healthcare Workers and COVID-19 Vaccine Rates
Houston – KPRC 2 Investigates sent a poll to area hospitals asking about healthcare worker vaccine rates. Each hospital that responded to the poll said COVID-19 vaccines were offered to 100% of its healthcare workers. Baylor College of Medicine reported a 79.6% vaccination rate. Texas Children’s Hospital reported a 78% vaccination rate. Cuero Regional Hospital had the lowest vaccination rate in the poll.
What officials say people needing medical treatment should do during the winter storm
Dr. David Persse, Houston’s chief medical officer, spoke about various medical situations he has seen pop up during the winter storm. You can find a list of warming centers here. Dialysis patientsPersse said people who need dialysis may be having trouble getting their treatment because many of the dialysis centers are dealing with power outages and low water pressure. In the meantime, some providers may direct their patients to other dialysis centers that do have the ability to provide treatment. Outpatient clinicsPersse said most outpatient clinics are dealing with power outages and water issues just like everyone else.
Foreign nationals traveling to Houston and other cities to get vaccinated
HOUSTON – Oren Murphy is a former minesweeper for the U.S. Navy and 60 years later, he is navigating the deadly challenge of COVID-19. KPRC 2 Investigates discovered foreign nationals who have traveled to Houston and elsewhere are getting vaccinated. Dr. Joseph Varon of United Memorial Medical Center says he first heard of foreign nationals receiving vaccines intended for Texans here in Houston at the end of last month. Following a roundtable meeting with public officials on Tuesday, we asked Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom about foreign nationals out of the county on hospital databases who are receiving vaccines. Back home in Houston, Boom told KPRC 2 Investigates, “There have been 60,000 people vaccinated.
‘It’s heartbreaking’: Doors at Heights Hospital locked because of nearly $1 million in back rent
HOUSTON – Employees at The Heights Hospital said they couldn’t get into the building Monday when they showed up for work. “We came to work and we were locked out,” said clinical coordinator Barbie Ortega. One indicates more than $322,000 in back rent, and the other indicates more than $948,000 in back rent. She said patients still showed up so staffers took matters into their own hands, treating what they could in the parking lot. The hospital’s website is currently down and some employees said they do not know if they will still get paid.
Southern California hospitals overwhelmed amid worsening pandemic
Southern California hospitals overwhelmed amid worsening pandemic Coronavirus cases are rising in 40 states while California hospitals are overwhelmed from a surge of infected patients putting them at a breaking point. Lilia Luciano reports.cbsnews.com
Houston area hospitals prepare for surge in COVID-19 cases
HOUSTON – Health experts at Memorial Hermann Hospital and Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center say they’re prepared for what may come in the next few weeks. “We certainly continue to ask for help from the people of greater Houston help us stop this disease. On Tuesday, the Texas Medical Center reported 4,515 new cases and 388 new hospitalizations. Several hospitals in our area already have plans in place if the numbers get worse. Both hospitals also have additional staff, agencies and traveling workers who are ready to help out.
Houston-area officially crosses hospitalization threshold that triggers reopening rollbacks
HOUSTON – The Houston area officially crossed Tuesday the hospitalization threshold that triggers a rollback in reopenings for the area, and the state has sent letters to county judges informing them of the requirement. Greg Abbott’s reopening order that requires, among other things, bars to close and restaurants to reduce capacity to 50%. ‘Wake-up call’Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said she expected Tuesday’s numbers to push the region over the threshold. Pamela Hillhouse, who owns Mel’s Place on Airline Drive, said she had to use more money to get a license and products to serve food. Stella Birchfield, the head bartender at Mel’s Place, said she chose to retire from her other work and spent years working at the bar, taking care of regular patrons.
Hospitals in crisis amid record number of coronavirus cases
Hospitals in crisis amid record number of coronavirus cases Health systems across the country are overwhelmed as coronavirus cases continue to climb amid the holiday season. In California, hospitals are running out of beds and rooms to treat patients. Carter Evans shares more.cbsnews.com
Hospitals to begin COVID-19 vaccine distribution today
Hospitals to begin COVID-19 vaccine distribution today Hospitals around the country are expected to start giving COVID-19 vaccinations to health care workers today. Dr. Stephen Parodi, associate executive director of the Permanente Medical Group at Kaiser Permanente, joins CBSN AM to talk about rolling out the vaccine.cbsnews.com
Hospitals practice for unprecedented coronavirus vaccine distribution
Hospitals practice for unprecedented coronavirus vaccine distribution Hospital workers across the country are practicing how to distribute the coronavirus vaccine once the shipments from Pfizer arrive. Meg Oliver takes a closer look.cbsnews.com
DuPage County expects to receive and start administering 13,000 COVID vaccines next week
It will be up to hospitals and care facilities that receive the vaccine to determine who in the top-priority group will be vaccinated first, DuPage County Director of Community Health Resources Chris Hoff said. Most likely emergency room and ICU staff, COVID-19 care unit workers and those who handle inpatient services will receive the first shots, he said.chicagotribune.com
Feds: Suburban Chicago businessman formed company as pandemic hit, then swindled more than $2.6 million from hospitals in Chicago and Iowa City
Though the hospitals are not named in the complaint, a spokeswoman for the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City confirmed officials there contacted the U.S. Attorney’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigations “after At Diagnostics did not return the funds sent in escrow when the purchase was canceled.”chicagotribune.com
Houston hospitals bracing for the storm in the midst of pandemic
While at least seven local hospital campuses are now closed, at least three emergency rooms remain open. They do not anticipate the closed hospital campuses, which include outpatient, wellness centers and orthopedic hospitals, to reopen until at least Friday. Flood gates securedOfficials at the Texas Medical Center in Houston closed the flood gates Wednesday afternoon. Per emergency recommendations, the metal doors close eight hours before any storm makes nearby landfall. Research and our teaching activities within this building were completely halted for many weeks,” said Scott Patlovich, UT Health Assistant VP Environmental Health and Safety.
FDA has fast-tracked promising drug to treat COVID-19 patients and it is in trial at Houston Methodist
HOUSTON – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has fast-tracked a promising drug to treat COVID-19 patients and it is in trial at Houston Methodist Hospital. The drug is called RLF-100 and is also known as aviptadil. It has been approved by the FDA for emergency use at multiple clinical sites in patients who are too ill to enter the FDA’s Phase 2/3 trials. According to a press release from the drug maker NeuroRX, independent researchers have reported that aviptadil blocked replication of the SARS coronavirus in human lung cells and monocytes. The drug has been successful in reducing lung inflammation and so the FDA now says any doctor at any hospital can request this treatment to help severely ill COVID-19 patients.
Leaders of Houston’s 4 largest hospitals say capacity is in good shape as coronavirus cases increase
HOUSTON – Leaders from the four largest hospital systems in Houston said Thursday that they are in good shape to handle a surge of coronavirus patients if it happens. Still, CEOs from four leading hospitals in the medical center say they’re prepared to handle surge capacity. Houston hospital leaders discuss capacity Houston-area hospital leaders are discussing capacity at their facilities amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, the hospitals in the Texas Medical Center are equipped to deal with a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations. “What they are showing is an increase in cases, increase in hospitalizations, increase in intensive care unit stays, and an increase in deaths for the next couple of months,” he said.
Scarce medical oxygen worldwide leaves many gasping for life
___In Guinea, oxygen is a costly challenge for government-funded medical facilities such as the Donka public hospital in the capital, Conakry. Courts have sentenced about a dozen people for selling and stockpiling unauthorized oxygen cylinders, often at exorbitant prices. “The amount of oxygen being brought here isn’t enough.”In Sierra Leone, neighboring Guinea, just three medical oxygen plants serve 17 million people. Everyone is counting on the hospital’s oxygen plant to start up, but no one knows when. Julhas Alam in Dhaka, Bangladesh; Christine Armario in Bogota, Colombia; and Youssouf Bah in Conakry, Guinea, contributed to this report.
ICU total occupancy in Houston-area hospitals could be surpassed as soon as Thursday, data shows
HOUSTON – Intensive Care Units at hospitals throughout the Houston area could surpass total occupancy as soon as Thursday, according to data released by the Texas Medical Center. Data released Wednesday placed the ICU occupancy percentage at 97% of which 27% are COVID-19 patients. The current growth trajectory for coronavirus in the Houston area suggests ICU surge capacity could be exceeded within the next two weeks. After an ICU reaches its capacity, a hospital will use other spaces to house ICU patients. An unsustained surge means a hospital no longer has space in-house for ICU patients, meaning patients could be housed elsewhere.
Director of Houston COVID-19 ward at 65% capacity says he’s worried about possibility of overwhelming spike
HOUSTON – At the United Memorial Medical Center, the COVID-19 surge is not numbers and statistics. That day, doctors and nurses struggled to save an 82-year-old man with a history of heart disease whose heart had stopped. The same scene plays out daily, at this small hospital in a low-income north Houston neighborhood that primarily treats minority patients. I’m a hundred percent sure it’s going to happen.”The increased patient count at this ward shows the spike has already begun. However, the governor insists that even with the surge in cases, Texas has enough hospital beds and ventilators to accommodate the increase of new cases.
This dashboard tracks the daily hospital capacity for general, ICU beds in the Houston area
HOUSTON – As Texas continues to reopen, many areas, including the greater Houston area, have seen a slow climb in the number of new coronavirus cases reported each day and coronavirus-related hospitalizations. Since Memorial Day, the state has also seen increases in the number of people testing positive for the virus. He also said Texas has “abundant” hospital capacity at present the goal is to keep it that way. See the SETRAC coronavirus and hospital capacity dashboard below:How to use this interactive dashboard:The dashboard has six sets of charts that range from a daily COVID-19 tracker to hospital bed capacity. Click through the buttons at the top or the slides at the bottom to see all the charts from SETRAC.
Gov. Abbott to address rising COVID-19 hospitalizations in Texas as they set 1-day high Monday
HOUSTON Texas continued an upward trend in hospitalizations of coronavirus patients, setting a new one-day high Monday for the seventh time in eight days. Governor Greg Abbott announced that he will address the issue of growing COVID-19 hospitalizations in a press conference Tuesday afternoon at 1 p.m. He will be joined by Dr. John Zerwas, the Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs of the University of Texas System and Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt, and Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd. Texas health officials reported 2,326 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 and 1,254 new cases, the most ever reported for a Monday, which is typically the lowest day of the week for new virus cases. That trend mirrors other data like increases in newly reported cases and hospitalizations on a state level.
As Texas coronavirus hospitalizations rise, local officials can recommend precautions but they cant enforce many of them
For the fourth day in a row Monday, Texas reported record highs in hospitalizations from the new coronavirus. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported that there are 2,326 patients with COVID-19 in Texas hospitals the highest number to date. Greg Abbott has allowed Texas restaurants to operate at 75% capacity and other businesses to operate at 50% capacity. As the coronavirus first gripped the state in March, though, Abbott allowed local officials to make their own decisions about business closures and stay-at-home orders. He cited it as an encouraging metric as the states stay-at-home order expired at the end of April.
Ask 2: Can people visit loved ones in hospitals or nursing homes yet?
As part of our new Ask 2 series, the newsroom will answer your questions about all things Houston. The question: Can people visit loved ones in hospitals or nursing homes yet? The answer: COVID-19 remains a concern for both Houston-area hospitals and nursing homes. Hospitals in the Houston-area such as Memorial Hermann, Houston Methodist and HCA Houston Healthcare have begun to slightly relax visitor restrictions by allowing one designated visitor over the age of 18 per patient. Nursing homes can begin to ease visitor restrictions as long as they abide by guidelines highlighted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS):No new COVID-19 cases for 28 daysNo staff shortagesEnsure PPE and cleaning supplies in the buildingMust have adequate access to COVID-19 testingEach nursing home may have different visitor restrictions, call your loved one’s nursing home facility for more information.
Health care workers pull back the curtain for National Hospital Week, show us what their lives are really like
In honor of National Hospital Week, health care workers, medical facilities and health systems are being highlighted around the country. After that, I took several pediatric patient transfers and a few other patient transfer between our sister facilities. Memorial Hermann has always provided very good equipment. Memorial Hermann is truly where I belong because Memorial Hermann is one, and one family. It’s like a second home.”In honor of #NationalHospitalWeek, help us say thank you to the team at Memorial Hermann.
Dallas homeless shelter reports 38 coronavirus cases
On Friday, Dallas officials were notified that a privately-operated homeless shelter, Dallas Life, had reported 17 guests who tested positive for the new coronavirus. The number has now increased to 38, according to the shelter’s executive director Rev. Bob Sweeney, who confirmed the figure on Friday to The Dallas Morning News. “[The City’s Office of Homeless Solutions] is working collaboratively with the shelter and the organization is providing staff and operational support at the hotel site,” Rubio said. Sweeney told the News that the outbreak started when the first person of three tested positive for the virus eight days ago.
Houston-area hospitals issue urgent call for plasma from people who have recovered from coronavirus
HOUSTON – Houston-area hospitals are issuing urgent calls for plasma donations from people who have recovered from coronavirus as doctors use it to treat current patients. Doctors at UT Health are now taking part in convalescent plasma therapy for coronavirus patients. Urgent need for volunteersWith plasma therapy, doctors transfer the antibodies that fight COVID-19 from those who have recovered, to patients who are seriously ill with the virus. Who can donate plasma? Must have fully recovered from COVID-19 with no symptoms for at least 28 days before the donations.
Rural hospitals in Houston area brace for coronavirus impact
EL CAMPO, Texas – Before the coronavirus pandemic, rural hospitals are already stretched thin. El Campo may be a small city touting a little over 11,000 residents, according to the 2010 Census. Coronavirus in rural countiesAbout 60% of rural Texas counties have confirmed cases, according to the CEO of Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals John Henderson. Channel 2 Investigates calculated that 31 of the 39 rural hospitals had only two ventilators or less, thanks to numbers provided by TORCH. “I think we are as best equipped as we can be under the circumstances,” said Dr. Brooke Dorotik of El Campo Memorial.
Gov. Greg Abbott issues directives to expand Texas hospital capacity
Greg Abbott took multiple measures Sunday designed to expand hospital staffing and capacity, but declined to issue a statewide shelter-in-place order — even as calls for such an action increased as the new coronavirus continued to spread across the state. In an effort to free up hospital beds in anticipation of an influx of patients sick with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, Abbott ordered health care professionals to postpone "all surgeries that are not medically necessary" and suspended regulations to allow hospitals to treat more than one patient in a room. As of noon Sunday, there were at least 355 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Texas and six reported deaths. At least 8,756 people have been tested. This developing story will be updated soon.
Memorial Hermann, Houston Methodist moves to no-visitors policy with few exceptions amid coronavirus concerns
HOUSTON – As cases of the coronavirus began appearing in the Houston area, hospitals began assessing policies to protect patients. Houston MethodistHouston Methodist issued the following policy on March 27:"To protect our patients, visitors, employees and physicians as COVID-19 continues to spread, Houston Methodist campuses will no longer permit visitors. Memorial Hermann"Effective Friday, March 27, Memorial Hermann will no longer allow visitors to enter our facilities until further notice. Effective immediately and until further notice, each HCA Houston Healthcare hospital will allow two visitors at a time per patient. St. Joseph HospitalSt. Joseph Hospital released a statement regarding its response to the coronavirus and the policy changes being made to protect its patients and staff.
Are American hospitals ready to fight Ebola?
Are American hospitals ready to fight Ebola? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is assuring the public that the nation's hospitals stand ready to handle cases of Ebola, but in a survey, nurses across the country say they fear their hospitals are not ready. John Blackstone reports.cbsnews.com