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There are no staffed pediatric ICU beds left in Trauma Service Area E region, DFW health council president says

The news comes as 73 confirmed COVID-19 pediatric patients are hospitalized -- the highest level ever of pediatric COVID-19 patients the region has ever treated.

DALLAS — There are no longer any staffed pediatric ICU beds available anywhere in the North Texas Trauma Service Area E region, according to the DFW Hospital Council.

The news comes amid a recent COVID surge which has seen 73 confirmed COVID-19 pediatric patients hospitalized, which is the highest level ever of pediatric COVID-19 patients the region has ever treated, DFWHC President Stephen Love said Thursday. Just one day prior, just two pediatric ICU beds were available.

Love said the unvaccinated are arriving at North Texas hospitals in bigger numbers every day. Those 73 kids hospitalized are just a fraction of the nearly 2,700 COVID patients hospitalized Thursday in North Texas.

"As far as I know, every [hospital in the region] is experiencing this surge," Love told WFAA. "They're all experiencing staffing issues. And they're all looking at the models and worried about where we're going to be in about two to three weeks.

"I think that a lot of people feel like if they're vaccinated, you know, happy days are here again....life is back to normal....."

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Now that there are no staffed pediatric beds left, Love told WFAA that hospitals could create more surge space if they needed to or they could transfer patients to other hospitals, if it came to that. 

Cook Children's said in a Thursday statement to WFAA that "bed availability is an ever-changing situation due to staffing, patient needs and other factors," but the hospital system "will not be sending patients to other hospitals at this time."

Thursday, 14 of the state's 22 hospital regions were well above the 15% hospitalization threshold that was once used to reinstate restaurant capacities and mask mandates.

Right now, D-FW is at 18% of its hospital beds being taken up by COVID patients. That number is even higher in other regions.

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Parkland Hospital's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joseph Chang stressed again Thursday that the numbers are trending the wrong way.

"I've been on these airwaves for about 15-16 months talking about these things, and I think people know now that I am not an alarmist," Chang said. "I am not a sky-is-falling-down sort of individual, but I'll tell you right now, I am already having trouble staffing all of the rooms that are necessary for these patients."

And while Love and Chang know this all sounds like a broken record, they said again, as Chang previously told WFAA: "The answer is vaccination. It always has been and it will be."

RELATED: Here's how many beds DFW's largest hospitals had available this week, as COVID-19 spikes