Dallas Judge Warns That There Are Now Zero ICU Beds Left For Kids

Judge Says Delta Surge Has Left Dallas With Zero ICU Beds For Kids

Sick girl lying on bed in ICU during COVID-19
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The Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins explained the status of local hospitals bluntly: “Your child will wait for another child to die”

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins’s framing might seem over the top to some, but as COVID cases surge among kids and teens as the school year starts and hospitals continue to work over-capacity, his dire warning is warranted.

Judge Jenkins and other state officials are challenging Governor Greg Abbott’s recent executive order that banned local government from imposing mask mandates. During a press conference on August 13, Jenkins felt compelled to highlight the very real risks of not wearing masks or choosing not to get vaccinated. (Which, to be clear, the science shows that COVID vaccines save lives, and people who previously chose not to get vaccinated and have since caught the virus have begged naysayers to get inoculated before it’s too late.)

“In Dallas, we have zero ICU beds left for children. That means if your child’s in a car wreck, if your child has a congenital heart defect or something and needs an ICU bed, or more likely if they have COVID and need an ICU bed, we don’t have one. Your child will wait for another child to die.”

The severe lack of provisions and beds in intensive care units isn’t limited to Dallas, either; Jenkins said that the same is true in 19 nearby and surrounding counties as well. So if a child needed immediate medical attention — for COVID or anything else — their health and safety could be on the line, as they would need to wait for care and be transported farther away for proper critical care.

“Your child will just not get on the ventilator,” Jenkins explained. “Your child will be CareFlighted to Temple or Oklahoma City or wherever we can find them a bed, but they won’t be getting one here unless one clears and that’s been true for 24 hours.”

Over half of Texas hospitals’ ICUs are at capacity or out of beds for adults, too.

All over the Lone Star State, hospital staff are working tirelessly as ICU beds continue to fill up. As of August 5, at least 53 Texas hospitals have no ICU capacity — that includes adult beds, too. In total, about 87.1% of all hospital beds in Texas are in use, with 14.1% being treated for severe or life-threatening COVID infections. Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County’s health authority, also noted that patients seem to be staying longer than with prior COVID surges.

“This surge is by far the fastest and most aggressive that we’ve seen. Almost all of our hospitalizations are due to unvaccinated patients developing severe illness. ICU staff are seeing a younger population in our hospitals. Patients in the ICU are sicker and stay in the hospital longer than with prior surges, putting more strain on hospital resources.”

Wear a mask. Get vaccinated.