COVID updates: Rural counties, children's hospitals running low on ICU beds

There were fewer COVID patients overall in the region: 3,409 on Thursday compacted to 3,494 on Wednesday, health officials said

DALLAS — Rural counties, such as Kaufman, Cooke and Wise counties, are running low on ICU beds but there were fewer COVID patients overall in the North Texas region on Thursday compared to the day before, officials said.

At children's hospitals in the region, there were zero staffed ICU beds available as of Thursday afternoon, but the hospitals have ways to adapt, according to the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council.

The overall percent occupancy of all inpatient pediatric patients to bed capacity is currently running 95.8%, according to the D-FW Hospital Council. Cook Children's said that patients have not been transferred from the hospital.

As of Thursday afternoon, there were 3,409 COVID patients being treated in Trauma Service Area E, which encompasses multiple counties in North Texas, said Council President/CEO W. Stephen Love.

That is a slight decrease compared to Wednesday when 3,494 COVID patients were reported, Love said. Those patients represent 22.8% of available bed capacity and 48.8% of adult ICU patients have COVID.

The majority of patients are unvaccinated, Love said.

COVID patients by county:

  • Tarrant County: 1,162
  • Dallas County: 1,017
  • Collin County: 417
  • Denton County: 201
  • Hunt County: 61
  • Grayson County: 85
  • Ellis County: 105
  • Rockwall County: 93

There are 54 available ICU beds in Trauma Service Area E. Love says that the rural county ICUs are at or near capacity.

Available adult staffed ICU beds, according to Love:

  • Dallas County: 17
  • Tarrant County: 26
  • Collin County: 5
  • Denton County: 1
  • Kaufman County: 1
  • Cooke County: 1
  • Wise County: 1

Pediatric ICU beds

There are zero available staffed pediatric ICU beds in region E, but Love added that hospitals are able to adapt to the needs of the patients by making shifts, such as using pediatric recovery areas and other techniques.

There are 116 confirmed COVID pediatric patients in region E, which is the highest COVID pediatric census ever in the region, Love said.

"Unlike previous surges in this pandemic, more children and adolescents are being hospitalized with this Delta variant," Love said. "The available staffed ICU bed metric alone should not be given full weight when evaluating treatment availability."

He added that hospitals also use telemedicine and virtual health assistance to help with some capacity concerns.

"Our hospitals will always do the very best to ensure appropriate coverage and treatment of our patients. We do not want to create panic by this one metric," Love said.

Additionally, the children’s hospitals are treating an unusual number of RSV patients for the summer season.

Walmart in Sulphur Springs closed until Saturday to clean for COVID

The Walmart store in Sulphur Springs has closed to clean for COVID, officials said Thursday. The store will be reopened on Saturday at 6 a.m. after cleaning crews thoroughly clean and sanitize the building.

"As you know, several areas across the country have begun seeing a renewed increase in positive COVID-19 cases, and we want to assist health officials working against the pandemic," Walmart said in a statement.

The closure will also "give our associates additional time to restock shelves and prepare the store to once again serve the community."

"When the store reopens on Saturday, we will continue conducting associate health assessments, and all unvaccinated associates must still wear face coverings," it said.

Hood County reports most ICU beds are COVID patients

More than 86% of Hood County's ICU beds are occupied by COVID-positive patients, Hood County health officials shared Thursday.

There are 655 active cases reported as of Thursday. There have been 152 deaths related to COVID and 16 of those deaths have taken place since July 20, officials said.

The county's population is 78,176.

Hospitalization data, according to Hood County officials:

  • 100% of Hood County’s ICU beds are in use.
  • 86.36% of Hood County’s ICU beds are COVID-19 positive.
  • 51.52% of Hood County’s hospital capacity is COVID-19 positive.

Michael Buble announces all guests must be vaccinated or show a negative test for Fort Worth show

Crooner Michael Buble has a concert scheduled Sept. 21 at Dickies Arena. On Thursday, his representatives announced that all guests must either be fully vaccinated or provide a negative COVID test that was taken within 72 hours prior.

Unvaccinated children 12 and under must also show a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours.

"We understand that this announcement is sudden and unexpected and therefore we have arranged to have a testing company on-site the day of the event for any guest that needs to take a rapid test for a fee to meet the above requirements," the representatives said in an email.

New Denton County cases

Denton County health officials reported 335 new cases of COVID Thursday. There have been 90,124 cases of COVID and 663 deaths in the county since the pandemic began.

COVID in Tarrant County

Tarrant County health officials reported 1,495 new cases and 14 additional deaths.

There are 1,126 patients being treated for COVID on Thursday, an increase of 37 compared to Wednesday.

There are 356 patients on ventilators, an increase of seven compared to Wednesday.

Over the last six days, there have been 115 deaths in the county. Since tracking began, there have been 3,895 deaths in the county.

John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth reported they are treating 130 COVID patients Thursday, an increase of 10 compared to Wednesday.

Employee at Plane State Jail dies of COVID

Another employee at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has died of COVID, state officials said.

Lakeisha Brantley, 41, worked with the department for 11 years. She was a laundry manager assigned to the Plane State Jail in Humble. She tested positive for COVID on Aug. 26 after not feeling well. On Aug. 31, she was contacted that she was found dead in her Houston-area home.

“Ms. Brantley had served as a Correctional Sergeant and Lieutenant before her time as Laundry Manager,” said TDCJ Correctional Institutions Division Director Bobby Lumpkin in a statement. “She gave 110% every day at all times and was a huge part of the Plane team. She was a hard worker and always looked to the positive. The thoughts and prayers of the TDCJ family go out to her family now. She will be truly missed.”

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has had 53 employees who have died in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.