NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Shot clinics are planned for Thursday in Nacogdoches and another on Friday in Lufkin. They are not open to the public, but pre-arranged by medical providers.
They don’t come soon enough for those fighting off infection in Deep East Texas hospitals.
Medical providers remind viewers that COVID-19 graphs and numbers represent individuals being cared for in Deep East Texas hospitals.
“We have been, during the past week or two at both hospitals, maxed out with critical care beds,” said Gary Stokes, CEO at Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital.
The most recent Health and Human Services data shows in Angelina County 31% of hospital beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients.
And in Nacogdoches County the number jumps up to 36%.
“It’s a critical situation, and if we had more personnel, we could open more beds,” said Stokes. We have the capacity to open up more beds. We have about 24 plus beds on the unit, but we don’t have the staff to do it.”
At St. Luke’s Health-Memorial in Lufkin, additional beds have been converted for ICU use. An expansion plan has been enacted as the hospital is dealing with an ebb-and-flow event. Existing staff are reassigned to address needs.
“It’s been very challenging, and I think particularly for the staff and the frontline people, very exhausting,” said Stokes.
And it is sometimes complicated by the need for more supplies. Nacogdoches Medical Center manages to fill shortages through its corporate connections. But notices a nationwide shortage for needles and syringes due to more vaccine rollouts. And a shortage of respiratory supplies because of the sheer numbers of COVID-19 patients.
Hospitals encourage Deep East Texans to step-up precautionary measures against COVID-19, and to sign up with vaccine providers as soon as possible.
Qualified individuals who have not received the vaccine but desire one are encouraged to monitor the state’s updated vaccine provider map at bit.ly/3oDhjHu for vaccine availability.