LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations for Trauma Service Region H, the area that covers Deep East Texas, reflect a spike following major holidays. According to Texas State Health and Human Services the region has the third highest rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state behind Laredo and Waco.
Area H includes Nacogdoches, Polk and San Augustine counties. As of the publication of this story on Tuesday, the hospitalization rate Area H was 26.70 percent, marking the 15th day in a row that the rate was shown above 15 percent.
Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital’s board chair Lisa King jumped on the Nacogdoches Chamber’s stakeholder conference call to explain COVID-19 statistical data -- specifically how it impacts primarily the four larger hospitals in Lufkin and Nacogdoches.
“We do have referrals come in from all the smaller hospitals and the communities throughout the region. So, when you take a demographic like ours and you add maybe three or four patients that’s enough to send us up over that 15%,” said King.
Which could ultimately determine who does or doesn’t receive hospitalized care.
When asked if a person needing to be in the hospital for COVID-19 would have a room and staff King responded, “Absolutely, we will continue to take care of patients that come to our hospital, as I’m sure all the other hospitals would.”
Angelina County judge Don Lymbery calls it a bleak picture.
“I’m very concerned. We have not had this in Angelina County. We’ve not had it in East Texas ever this bad”
Referring to patients coming and going from hospitals Lymbery said, “It’s a never-changing daily routine that the hospitals are fighting right now.”
Which can lead to transfers to associate hospitals.
“People are going to get taken care of. But it may not be here.”
Nacogdoches Medical Center’s president Jeff Patterson offers reassurance, stating --”Given the recent increase in hospitalizations across the entire trauma service area, we are closely monitoring the census in our hospital and making adjustments as needed.”
The return SFA students prompts administrators to offer help where needed.
Dr. Scott Gordon said the assistance is “to make sure our healthcare facilities don’t get overwhelmed and the addition of several thousand students doesn’t overwhelm the capacity and just hope for the best.”
All stakeholders encourage strict adherence to COVID-19 precautionary measures, even you have been vaccinated.