Texas is forecasted to nearly triple the number of people dying a day to COVID-19 over the next 14 days, according to a North Texas research team.
Hospitals in Dallas and Tarrant counties are also projected to reach maximum capacity within the next 30 days if safety measures are not taken.
The University of North Texas Health Science at Fort Worth recently released its seventh COVID-19 report this year.
The medical center recently predicted the COVID-19 death count would reach its peak around Aug. 1, which happened.
"There is a real risk of overwhelming hospital capacities due to daily growth in the number of cases," the researchers said.
Dallas and Tarrant counties may reach maximum capacity in the next 30 days at the current rate COVID-19 patients are being hospitalized, according to the Fort Worth research team.
This estimation would be reached if the number of new daily COVID-19 hospitalizations reaches 371 in Tarrant County and 460 in Dallas County.
Tarrant County reported 18 new hospitalizations and 782 total hospitalizations on Friday. Dallas County reported 37 new hospitalizations and 707 total hospitalizations on Thursday.
Many individual hospitals in the area are already operating at or near-maximum capacity, according to the University of North Texas Health Science at Fort Worth.
Once hospitals operate at or above normal maximum capacity, the Fort Worth team says the fatality rate is likely to go up due to a possible lack of quality treatment.
But, making such predictions is challenging, the researchers say.
A rise in new coronavirus deaths typically lag the rise in new cases by about 14 days.
There are projected to be 2,600 COVID-19 deaths in Texas in the next 14 days, according to the University of North Texas Health Science at Fort Worth. That is about 186 deaths a day.
There have been 2,606 statewide COVID-19 deaths in the past 39 days since Oct. 12, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. That is about 67 deaths a day.
The medical center says these are some of the reasons for the surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations:
- Super-spreader events from indoor social gatherings in homes
- People eating or drinking at bars and restaurants
- Hospital employees getting exposed and sick
To help protect the healthcare system from a continuing surge, the University of North Texas Health Science at Fort Worth says these steps are suggested:
- Closure of bars and further restricting dine-in
- Social distancing guidelines should be followed
- Masks should be worn even in outdoor locations when in the proximity of other individuals
- Residential social gatherings should be strictly avoided or individuals should get tested before such gatherings
- Family holiday gatherings should be avoided (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah)
- Testing should be expanded to asymptomatic individuals to detect community spreads early
- Gyms and social gathering places in the apartment complexes should be closed
- Retail shopping should be avoided as much as possible
- If possible, wear KN-95 masks
- If all else fails, “Shelter in place” orders in targeted areas must be considered
The Fort Worth research team used medical data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Google COVID-19 community mobility report, Tarrant County Public Health, North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council and Texas Department of Health Services.