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Central Texas hospitalization rates rising as COVID-19 cases increase

Rates closing in to governor's 15% indicator
Posted at 10:55 PM, Nov 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-18 23:55:27-05

The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District says they now have 80 COVID hospitalizations, the largest number they’ve seen since July. Now they're at 12% hospital capacity.

“Since August we have really been stable with the number of hospitalizations and community-wide cases that we’ve had. Now in the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen a really big upturn,” said Marc Elieson, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center- Hillcrest Inpatient Medicine Division Medical Director.

Hospitalizations are also picking up in Bell County. They now have 75 COVID-19 patients in their hospitals.

“As our community reflects, we’ve seen the direct impact of that. We know there is a higher number of people with COVID at home and in the hospital,” said Advent Health Central Texas Quality Executive Director Karen Percell.

Local hospitals say some COVID-19 patients are staying even longer in the hospital for treatment. Even though local hospitals have surge plans in place, health officials are asking the community to work together to slow the spread during the holidays.

“If you could somehow limit the group of people that you interact with, having your Thanksgiving party group as small as possible and to do it outdoors,” said Elieson.

“Often times when we’re with family, we allow ourselves to be more vulnerable. We think our family, they’ll never harm us. Remember COVID-19 is not an intentional virus that spreads, but we may not know that we have it and still be spreading,” said Percell.

Governor Greg Abbott said the state would be forced to limit capacity of restaurants and other entities if hospitalization rates rose over 15%.

Local health officials are hoping that people continue to wear their masks and wash their hands while they’re out Black Friday shopping and buying other things for the holidays