AUSTIN, Texas (KLTV) - During his press conference Friday afternoon, Texas Governor Greg Abbott explained that healthcare measures his office took in the early stages of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis have increased the number of beds available for COVID-19 patients by 142 percent, adding that almost 20,000 beds are now available.
If they are needed, hospitals in the state of Texas have 19,695 beds available for patients who are suffering from the more severe symptoms of the coronavirus. The Lone Star State also has more than 2,000 ICU beds available for those patients.
“The State of Texas is ahead of the curve to meet our hospital capacity needs in the coming weeks and months,” Abbott said. "Over the past several weeks we have taken action to expand bed availability to make sure that every Texan who needs a hospital bed will have access to one. The best thing Texans can do to help maintain hospital capacity is to stay at home unless they are engaged in essential services or activities.
Abbott also said there are 8,741 ventilators available for the COVID-19 patients who are having difficulty breathing on their own.
Going into detail about those numbers Dr. John Zirwas went over the numbers for the various Trauma Service Areas in the state of Texas. In addition to listing the numbers for the major metropolitan areas, the doctor also broke the numbers down for the Tyler TSA.
He said Tyler has 1,623 hospital beds in total, with 602 available. Abbott said 37% of the beds are available, 50 of them are ICU beds.
Zirwas went into further detail and said some of the total available beds are Level 5 beds, which means they are in hospitals, and they have equipment like ventilators available and nearby, along with the necessary healthcare professionals needed to treat the patients. Level 4 beds are those that can be quickly converted to handled COVID-19 patients with the addition of equipment and hospital staff.
The doctor said they envision the Level 1 beds being for people experiencing the early stages of COVID-19 infections or are recovering, and as a result, need less medical care. Zirwas said those facilities include the one the Army Corps of Engineers and the National Guard recently opened in the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, similar facilities that are in the planning stages, and hotels and motels that meet the proper criteria.
Earlier in the press conference, Abbott said, to date, more than 55,000 people have been tested for the COVID-19 virus. Of that number, 5,478 have tested positive for the virus, which means that roughly 90 percent of those tested had negative results.
To date, there have been 91 COVID-19-related deaths, Abbott said. Of the people that tested positive for the virus, 827 people have been hospitalized or are still in the hospital.