In a statement late Monday night, Texas Children’s confirmed that the pediatric hospital has taken the unusual step of providing such additional capacity through its intensive care units and acute care beds at its two biggest campuses in the area.
“Yes, Texas Children’s is admitting adult patients,” said the statement. “We are committed to doing our part to assist the city as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise.”
Adults with the disease will be cared for in an expanded special isolation unit at the hospital’s west Houston campus, said a spokeswoman. She said that as part of its assistance freeing up space for other hospitals, the flagship campus in the Texas Medical Center also is taking care of some adult patients who don’t have COVID-19.
Texas Children’s would not say how many adult patients are receiving care at the two locations.
This is the first time during the pandemic that Texas Children’s has had to invoke the plan. The plan was prepared in advance of the April surge of patients but turned out not to be needed then.
Earlier Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott pleaded with Texans to better protect themselves against the coronavirus, acknowledging that the virus is now “spreading at an unacceptable rate.” The message marked a change from a week ago, when Abbott downplayed rising caseloads, citing abundant medical resources and anomalies in the data.
The state reported 4,515 new cases Monday, its second highest single-day increase. The increase brought Texas’ total to 118,462.
Meanwhile, experts warned Houston could be the next epicenter of the national pandemic. The area added 2,425 cases Monday, bringing its total to 31,917.
On Sunday, a 25-county region anchored by Houston set a new record for COVID-19 hospitalizations for the ninth time in 11 days, with 1,847 patients. ICU usage crept up to 89 percent, and the Texas Medical Center warned its system could exhaust base intensive care capacity within two weeks. More than 10,000 general and ICU beds remain available in the area.
Adult COVID-19 patients receiving care at the isolation unit at Texas Children’s west campus are being transferred from other hospitals in the area after testing positive for the disease. The unit, a state-of-the-art biocontainment space built in 2015 following the international Ebola virus crisis, was specifically designed to care for individuals with infectious diseases that are highly contagious and may require specialized intensive care.
Adults patients who don’t have COVID-19 but are being cared for at Texas Children’s medical center campus are also being transferred from other area hospitals.
The Texas Children’s statement added that the hospital continues to carefully monitor the ongoing active transmission and increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the area and across the state.