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Does Texas have enough hospital beds? Gov. Abbott says yes

Pressure on the health care system is increasing in some parts of the country, but Texas now has a high hospital capacity, Gov. Greg Abbott says

As cases of coronavirus continue to increase in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday that there are nearly 19,700 available hospital beds across the state to treat COVID-19 patients. There are 5,330 positive cases across the state as of Friday.

In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, there are 4,242 hospital beds, or 33%, available, according to graphics presented at Abbott's Friday news conference.

Across the state, 19,695 beds were available at the time of the news conference, Abbott said. The numbers were revealed days after Abbott told Texans to stay home except for conducting essential business, like grocery shopping or going to the bank. Texas health care organizations urged him to issue a stay-at-home order.

AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has developed an interactive online map of COVID-19 cases for Texas that is updated daily. A map like this wasn't available until now because the state received its numbers through individual reports. Those could take more than a day to receive.

"The State of Texas is ahead of the curve to meet our hospital capacity needs in the coming weeks and months," Abbott said.

Texas is leading the nation in the number of drive-through test site lanes, Abbott said.

Abbott also announced that Abbott Laboratories, of no relation, has created coronavirus tests that can show results in 15 minutes. The primary goal is to use them to test front-line health workers who come face-to-face with coronavirus patients, Abbott said. About 20,000 tests will be available each week and will be shipped to seven hospitals across the state.

Abbott’s executive order from March 22 that increased capacity in hospitals and provided waivers for some health care workers has added 2,000 ICU beds and 8,700 ventilators in Texas, Abbott said.

“We are fully prepared to respond and have the capacity to add more beds,” Abbott said. “This will prevent us from having issues like New York.”

He asked Texans to stay home to help slow the spread.

Dallas Fort-Worth 

Graphics presented at the news conference showed the Dallas-Fort Worth area has a total of 12,399 reported beds and 541 ICU beds available.

Credit: WFAA

If needed, the state has federal medical stations, including 250 beds at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas and the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio. Health officials at the news conference reviewed additional possible ways to alleviate pressure on the health care system, including using hotels, freestanding emergency rooms and moving medical professionals to rural areas.

On Friday, Rep. Collin Allred announced an agreement where Baylor Scott & White will donate an unused hospital in Garland to Veterans Affairs. 

The vacant hospital, which has 100 beds, will be used to treat veterans with coronavirus and add capacity for North Texas’ health care system.

Go here for a map of coronavirus cases across Texas.

Texas by the numbers, according to Abbott:

55,000 people tested

5,478 (10% or less) tested positive

91 fatalities

827 people hospitalized

Personal protective equipment in Texas:

1.4 million masks

190,000 face shields

2 million gloves

160,000 gowns

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