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COVID updates: Tents set up as Wise Co. hospital reaches 109% capacity

Thursday, Wise Health System's surgical and ICU capacity was 109%. Wednesday, the hospital hit 110% capacity, a record high.

DECATUR, Texas — Editor's note: Updated with Thursday numbers. 

Wise Health System hit a record high for capacity this week, prompting the need for additional treatment tents to help take care of patients.

As of Thursday, the Decatur hospital was at 109% capacity, officials told WFAA. Thursday, the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council said that there were only two available ICU beds in the county. 

Jason Wren, the CEO of Health Wise System said it's the most challenging time the hospital has faced during any point of the pandemic.

“This is definitely the highest we’ve been from a COVID standpoint and from a capacity standpoint during the pandemic,” said Wren.

There are 81 beds in the medical, surgical and ICU units, Wise County Messenger reported. On Thursday, a representative for the hospital told WFAA they were treating 38 COVID patients, a number the hospital never reached during the winter surge. 

Wren said it's taking a toll on staff who have continued to care for patients amid staffing challenges. He believes the number of COVID hospitalizations would be higher without the hospital's COVID antibody infusion center set up outside. 

"It is very straining to continue to face challenges," said Wren. "As soon as one patients gets discharged, there's another behind them. There's no rest for the weary."

Wise County experienced a spike in COVID-related deaths in August and has also seen a spike of cases since Sept. 1, according to the state health department.

Wren said the hospital's request for five additional nurses has been approved by the state, although he didn't have a specific arrival date.

There have been 8,689 confirmed cases and 165 deaths in the county since tracking began.

Wren said since the spring, roughly 90% of hospitalized COVID patients the hospital has treated were unvaccinated.

"Regardless of how you feel about COVID, please to take this seriously," said Wren. 

Credit: Department of State Health Services

The D-FW Hospital Council said there were 3,089 patients hospitalized with COVID in the region, which was a decrease from Tuesday.

Of the available bed capacity, 20.3% were occupied by COVID patients, the council said. There were 61 available adult ICU beds in the region.

Patients with COVID-19 by counties, as of Wednesday

  • Tarrant: 1,025
  • Dallas: 859
  • Collin: 420
  • Denton: 183
  • Hunt: 66
  • Grayson: 132
  • Ellis: 80
  • Rockwall: 95

Adult – Available ICU beds by counties, as of Wednesday

  • Tarrant: 11
  • Dallas: 31
  • Collin: 11
  • Denton: 3
  • Wise: 1
  • Rockwall: 1
  • Kaufman: 1
  • Parker: 2

Council President/CEO Stephen Love had three points to share with North Texans:

  • "If not vaccinated, please talk to a trusted source, do your own scientific research, and get vaccinated as soon. Do it for the children under 12 ( if for no other reason ) as they can’t get vaccinated and need us to protect them."
  • "Wear a mask if you are vaccinated or not vaccinated when in groups of people.
  • "Please conduct all meetings on a virtual platform (not hybrid) for at least the short term (30-45 days) rather than potential spreader in-person events like annual meetings or even smaller events. We all have a responsibility to stop this Delta variant spread in North Texas."

Pediatric patients

There were 77 total pediatric patients with COVID in the DWF region on Wednesday, which was a decrease from the day before, the council said. Of all patients, occupancy was at 93.3%. There were nine available pediatric ICU beds.