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Wise County hospital almost out of beds for coronavirus patients

Hospital officials are urging people to wear masks.

DECATUR, Texas — Wise Health System in Decatur is dangerously close to running out of bed space for COVID-10 patients and is asking for the community’s help to keep that from happening.

“We are begging for your help,” CEO Jason Wren wrote in an open letter to Wise County residents. 

Wren urged residents to wear masks in public and socially distance wherever they go.

The letter came as the hospital staff treated 16 COVID-19 patients Wednesday, more than any other day during the pandemic. The hospital has been forced to expand the COVID-19 unit as a result.  

“I wrote that letter to the community just because I had noticed that as we stop following those guidelines, we’re starting to see an increase in cases,” Wren told WFAA.

There are currently so many patients the hospital is having to turn down requests from facilities in Texas and Oklahoma that want to transfer patients here.

The hospital is also experiencing staffing shortages due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. Wren said these patients require enhanced care. 

Wren says more COVID-19 patients means more doctors and nurses are dedicated to treating them, which takes those health care workers and resources away from patients dealing with other health problems.

“What we’re trying to do is get ahead of it and make sure that we don’t get to a point where we don’t have those beds and we don’t have enough staff to be able to take care of them because we’re heading in that direction right now,” Wren said.

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In the letter, Wren also reminded the community that the beginning of flu season is a concern for hospital capacity going forward. 

The rise in hospitalizations comes five days after Wise County reported 32 active cases October 9, according to the office of emergency management.  That figure more than twice as many as the 15 reported September 29th.

“That data does not tell us how people are going to be affected by the virus,” said Cody Powell, emergency management coordinator.

The daily active cases have since gone down to 26, which is a good sign.  Powell encourages families here, to follow the same safety guidelines they’ve been hearing about for months.

“It’s also something that people have heard a lot,” Powell said. “In some ways are tired of hearing about, but that doesn’t make it any less good advice.”

In the letter, Wren said he's not trying to scare people but rather bring awareness to the surge in cases and hospitalizations.

"My intent, therefore, is to provide you with a clearer picture of the reality your closest healthcare facility and others in the state are facing and ask everyone to please consider doing your part to help us."