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Houston Doctors Worried About Increase in COVID-19 Hospitalizations

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Hospital officials attribute the surge to social gatherings.

HOUSTON The heads of several hospitals in the Texas Medical Center sounded the alarm on Wednesday over the increase in hospitalizations linked to COVID-19 in Houston.

The fact that the number of hospitalizations has already increased significantly is a major concern, said Dr. Marc Boom, President and CEO of Houston Methodist, during a Zoom press conference with several TMC executives.

Dr Boom said hospitals are seeing numbers of COVID-19 they haven’t seen since the summer. He adds that while these numbers are still well below the July peak, they are rising rapidly.

He and other hospital officials attribute the skyrocketing to social gatherings.

His weddings, birthdays, birthday parties, said Dr. Paul Klotman, President and CEO of Baylor College of Medicine. I attended a wedding a few days ago over the weekend: 25 bridesmaids, all grouped together, not one wearing a mask.

These doctors fear that upcoming gatherings over Thanksgiving and other holidays will push cases up.

While Dr Boom believes hospitals have enough PPE to handle another spike in patients, he is concerned about the toll of healthcare workers.

If you look at the period from June to July when things really went downhill in Houston, we were able to recruit itinerant nurses from outside of Houston to complement, he said. It’s going to be a lot harder this time around because we were seeing surges everywhere.

TMC leaders are urging the same measures that brought the numbers down rapidly in July: masking, social distancing and limiting gatherings.

Everyone must have a plan, says Dr James McDeavitt, Senior Vice President of Baylor College of Medicine. We cannot go into this holiday season willy-nilly.

Doctors are optimistic about the imminent arrival of an effective vaccine and ask Houstonians to take the right precautions for a few more months.

The light at the end of the tunnel is achievable and accessible, said Dr Boom.

Bill McKeon, President of Texas Medical Center, said all of their hospitals are ready to roll out the vaccine when it’s ready. He said frontline workers would get the vaccine first.

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