Local hospital bed space near capacity

Posted at 7:26 PM, Jul 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-09 20:26:36-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Last week, Javier Hernandez thought he had a stomach bug.

On Monday, he went to Physicians PremiER standalone emergency room and tested positive for COVID-19.

But it took time for him to get the help he needed.

“He didn't get a room until Tuesday, late evening -- until close to 10, they found a room but it was in Alice, Texas,” said his wife, Erica.

Erica Hernandez said her husband is quickly recovering, and she hopes to have him home soon.

“Stay home, order delivery, do curbside, do what you can to protect -- not yourself -- but protect everyone else around you," she said. "It can attack anybody.”

On Wednesday, Nueces Co.-Corpus Christi Public Heath Department Director Annette Rodriguez and Coastal Bend Regional Advisory Council Executive Director Hillary Watt updated city council on the status of COVID-19 in the Coastal Bend in a specially called meeting. During the presentation, Watt said only 1,017 ICU beds are available in the state -- and hospitals in our area are quickly filling up.

On Thursday, Rodriguez agreed with Watts' assessment.

“So as to how many beds are available, I couldn't tell you," she said. "That would be a question of the hospitals, but I will tell you there are very few."

South Texas Health Systems in the Rio Grande Valley have already set up tents in Weslaco to help accommodate additional patients in that area. Rodriguez said the biggest problem in our area is that we don't have enough medical personnel to handle this surge.

“Even if you had a tent, but there's no people out there to man the tent, then, it's useless,” she said.

Rodriguez said there are vacant clinics in our area that could be used to house patients, and hopes Gov. Greg Abbott quickly responds to the Coastal Bend's health care staffing needs.