McLennan County hospitals are reaching capacity


WACO, Texas – The City of Waco held a virtual COVID-19 press conference this morning with Mayor Dillon Meek, local health care representatives and community members to discuss the critical status of state and local hospital capacities.

“As your mayor it is my elected responsibility to stand before you and present you with data and facts, all of which indisputably illustrate just how close our local health care system is to the brink of collapse,” Mayor Meek said.

More ventilators have been used in Waco this week than at any other time during this pandemic.

“I’ve personally heard health care leaders express more concern about the current situation than any other time during this pandemic,” Mayor Meek said.

All 54 ICU beds at Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest and Ascension Providence are in use. They are working on converting non-ICU beds to care for critical care patients.

“We are deferring the care anywhere we can that is not emergent because the beds are occupied, the team is burnt out, and we need those beds for the sicker patients,” Dr. Umad Ahmad of Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest said.

Mayor Meek said although unvaccinated patients account for the overwhelming majority of hospitalizations, this is not just about COVID-19. It’s about making sure there are enough resources necessary to care for everyone needing medical care.

“Complications of a heart attack, a serious car crash, or any other tragic event that warrants immediate medical attention,” Mayor Meek said.

He said if Wacoans don’t each do their part to change the trajectory of the Delta variant, there is a possibility of not receiving the level of care required at hospitals.

Public Health District Director Lashanda Malrey-Horne gave the following data:

As of August 24, there were 1,197 active COVID-19 cases in McLennan County.

McLennan County hospitalizations are at 164. Of those, 7.65% are vaccinated and 92.35% are unvaccinated.

As of today, there are 36 patients on ventilators. 2.35% of those patients are vaccinated, and 97% are unvaccinated.

Family medicine physician Clint McHenry read a letter that has been signed by 294 local physicians.

It said they are honored to be considered health care heroes, but would much rather prefer to see all of their community members protecting one another by following their advice to get vaccinated.

The letter calls the COVID-19 vaccine a modern medical miracle.

“Similar to the efforts that won World War II and put human footprints on the moon, it’s something to be proud of as an American,” McHenry read.

The office of emergency management has and continues to request additional staffing assistance from the state.

The numbers and data above can be found here.

If you need to find COVID-19 testing sites or vaccination sites, click here.

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