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Bell County hospitalization rates are low, doctors are hopeful for the future

Posted at 1:17 PM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-10 14:17:36-05

TEMPLE, TX — We all knew the holidays were going to be problematic when it comes toCOVID-19, now months later, doctors are finally starting to catch their breath.

“I speak for all of us in healthcare, not just physicians, nurses, all of our support employees that help us do what we do every day, we are encouraged by the lower numbers,” Dr. Tresa McNeal, an internal medicine hospitalist physician at Baylor Scott and White in Temple said.

Hospitalization rates in Bell County are averaging below 6% for the week of March 1st.

It’s the lowest that rate has been in months.

Due to these low numbers, more hospital beds are freed up and now local hospitals have more staff and supplies to accommodate other patients who come in for care beyond COVID-19.

“If a person has an emergency of another kind, say it's a heart attack, we know we're going to have all the people, supplies and space that we need to take care of them,” Dr. McNeal explained.

However, the low hospitalization rates are leaving many with the same question: is the third wave of the coronavirus over?

Dr. Erin Reed, a hospitalist at AdventHealth Central Texas, said she’s hopeful that’s the case.

Though she explained that the fall and winter seasons caused a spike in numbers.

“Maybe people let down their guard a little bit and, you know, saw a family and got together and so the rates were picking up,” she said. “But now things are settling down and that’s great news.”

Dr. Reed couldn’t contain her smile when thinking about all of the things that are working together to help reduce the spread of the virus, like vaccines and the masses who wear a mask and continue to play their part.

”You know, I'm very thankful that all the factors working together are continuing to help the rates to decline,” she said.

While the numbers are low now, both doctors explained that the fight isn’t over and the pandemic has no end in sight.

“We need you to keep masking, we want you to take that personal responsibility, and to make that choice and do the right thing for our community so that we can keep COVID cases down,” Dr. McNeal said.