Valley hospitals are over capacity with COVID-19 patients

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — All COVID-19 units in the Rio Grande Valley are at or over capacity, according to doctors on the frontlines.

Tuesday, Hidalgo County reported its largest single day increase of COVID-19 cases.

Cameron County doctors say all major hospitals with COVID-19 units are full.

 “Cameron county is at 131% capacity, we went from being at 71% percent of COVID-19 beds to 131% percent, so overcapacity,” said Dr. James Castillo, M.D., Cameron County Health Authority.

Data posted to the Hidalgo County COVID-19 dashboard online show there are more people hospitalized than there are beds.

Both counties are on ‘Level 1 Emergency’ which means maximum capacity and can call for outside help.

The problem? Because all COVID units are full, doctors are having to pull beds from other areas like the Emergency Room, in turn leaving no beds for those patients.

“Right now people are waiting a long time, unfortunately, some people are leaving without receiving care and that’s always a huge concern,” said one doctor at the Cameron County press conference, Tuesday morning.

On top of not enough beds, Valley hospitals also do not have enough staff.

“Yes, you have this room, but we still need doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, I need them to come to work and if they’re getting sick, which is what we are seeing, then we’re in a bigger deficit, so we have to bring nurses from other areas, pay them much more money to get them here for budgets we did not account for,” said Mayor Dr. Ambrioso Hernandez, a medical doctor and the mayor of Pharr.

Which is exactly what happened.

Close to 400 nurses have been deployed to hospitals across the Valley ranging from Mission to Edinburg to Harlingen.

“Some of these nurses came from New York City, so they have been in the fire, they have been in the trenches and now they get to bring that experience and expertise to the Rio Grande Valley to help with this crisis we’re dealing with,” said another doctor at the press conference.

The counties have not released if there will be an alternate location for COVID-19 patients to go if all hospitals become even more overwhelmed.

Tuesday, Hidalgo County has 257 people hospitalized from COVID-19 complications.

Cameron County has 172 hospitalized.

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