North Texas runs out of pediatric ICU beds amid Covid surge

No pediatric intensive care unit beds are available amid another Covid surge in North Texas, officials said Thursday.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council announced there are no more pediatric ICU beds in trauma service area E, which includes hospitals in 19 counties in North Texas, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported. As of Thursday, there were 73 confirmed pediatric Covid-19 patients hospitalized in the zone, the highest it's ever seen treated at once.

The council said hospitals were also receiving an unusual amount of pediatric respiratory syncytial virus patients this summer.

Stephen Love, the president and CEO of the council, said hospitals will use makeshift areas and reallocate staff to treat children.

Related: From New York to Washington, see the per-day count of new, confirmed Covid-19 cases in each state. Updated daily.

"Otherwise, they have to transfer the patient to other facilities. But the problem is in the state of Texas, the Houston area, the El Paso area, we’re all in the same situation. This fourth surge is extremely serious," Love said.

He added: “They’re younger and they’re sicker. The average age continues to drop. We’re in a very critical situation. And we’ve got to monitor this and be after it, especially over the next couple of weeks. If you’re not vaccinated, you’re playing Russian roulette. Please get vaccinated. Just about all of the patients in our hospitals are unvaccinated."

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The hospitals that serve North Texas are also treating nearly 2,700 adult Covid patients.

Meanwhile, in Middle Tennessee, Sumner Regional Medical Center's Chief Medical Officer Geoff Lifferth took to Facebook Thursday to share a similarly grim update.

"No beds. There are no beds," he wrote. "In Middle Tennessee right now it is impossible to find an empty, staffed ICU, ER, or med/surg bed. As an ER doc and a healthcare administrator, this past week has been one of the most exhausting and disheartening of my career."

"The delta variant has burned through us with a ferocity that’s hard to describe," he continued.

Lifferth said Covid hospitalizations ballooned from 200 patients to 2,000 in six weeks.

"A 1000% increase. In 6 weeks," Lifferth said. "It has overwhelmed tired doctors, nurses and healthcare systems that were already stretched thin."

He urged people to get vaccinated.

"Get one," Lifferth said. "There’s been a lot of talk about personal freedoms, and mandates, and government overreach, and such. And, someday when the sun is shining again, we can sit down and have some interesting conversations about all that. I might even agree with you on some of those points. But I can’t do that today. Not today. Because there are no beds."