Breaking News
More () »

Officials say hotels, motels, and old hospitals may become options as COVID-19 patients fill hospitals

Dallas County Commissioners asked Dallas County Public Health leaders to provide a list of back-up plans if hospitals in North Texas reach capacity.

Dallas County commissioners asked Dallas County Public Health leaders to provide a list of back-up plans if hospitals in North Texas reach capacity. The commissioners requested that the list is public by the end of the week. 

The good news is that as of now, hospitals still have beds available but as the cases of coronavirus continue, there is less space available.

Stephen Love is the president and CEO of the DFW Hospital Council. He said that right now, hospitals across the area are focused on maximizing the space available on their properties.

“Where they do things like put two patients in a room where formerly was a private patient room, they look at private space or on property they own,” Love said.

But as individual hospitals work to maximize space on campus, county leaders are looking at other options.

RELATED: Hospital beds top of mind as North Texas leaders order public to shelter-in-place

“Maybe it’s old hospitals that have been closed or it could be space that you can use to house patients there temporarily,” Love said. “Like a hotel.” 

Federal officials are also involved in the planning. The Texas Division of Emergency Management and the Texas Military Department are working with the Army Corps of Engineers for options if they would be needed at any point in the future.

"What we want to do is go into existing facilities primarily, places that are out there, hotels, college dormitories and perhaps large spaces,” Army Corps of Engineers Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite said. “We would go in and cut a contract, and have the state set up a lease with that particular facility, and then we would then take the building over in an exceptionally short amount of days, and we would go in and turn this into an ICU like facility.”

“Now you gotta be careful because when you’re dealing with critical care patients, you're going to have to have the equipment, you’re going to have to have the workforce, and the workforce and the equipment are equally important to having the space,” Love added. 

The good news is hospitals always find ways to adapt. 

Dr. John Carlo is the past president of the Dallas County Medical Society and he said teams are used to dealing with shortage.

“Every day hospitals make heroic efforts to take care of patients,” Dr. Carlo said. “It’s not unusual to have shortage of drugs, supplies, equipment, and what’s really remarkable about our hospital system is the ability to be able to adapt under these circumstances.”

More on WFAA: 

Before You Leave, Check This Out