(CNN) — Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise and in Dallas, Texas, “there are no ICU beds left for children,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said at a news conference Friday morning.
“That means if your child is in a car accident, if your child has a congenital heart defect or something and needs a bed in the ICU, or more likely if they have covid and need a bed in the ICU, we don’t have one. son will wait until another child dies, “Jenkins said. “Your child will simply not be on the respirator, your child will be [transportado por] CareFlight (emergency air service) to Temple or Oklahoma City or wherever we can find a bed, but you won’t get one here unless one is vacated. “
The judge added that there have been no beds available in the Children’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for at least 24 hours. The Texas Department of Health and Human Services (DSHS) told CNN that the shortage of pediatric ICU beds is related to a shortage of medical staff.
“Hospitals are licensed for a specific number of beds and most hospitals have fewer beds than they are licensed. They cannot use beds without staff. With the increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitals are experiencing a shortage of staff to tend the beds for which they are licensed, “department spokeswoman Lara Anton said in an email, adding that staffing agencies in the state are working to recruit emergency medical personnel across the United States.
Earlier in the week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that more than 2,500 medical employees would be dispatched to state hospitals to help with the growing number of Covid-19 patients. More than 11,200 people are hospitalized with covid-19 in Texas, according to state data, and there are approximately 323 ICU beds available statewide.
Jenkins spoke alongside other elected officials, as well as leaders from the Workers’ Defense Action Fund and other groups who said Abbott’s handling of the pandemic is putting residents in danger.
The mask debate
In July, Abbott issued a decree that combined many of its previous COVID-19 mandates, including that no government entity could require the use of masks, including school districts.
Dallas was one of several Texas counties that sued the governor this month and requested a restraining order against Abbott’s order in order to implement the mask-wearing mandates in hopes of slowing the spread of the virus. On Tuesday, Judge Tonya Parker determined that Dallas County residents “have suffered and will continue to suffer damages and injuries” by Abbott’s order and ruled that Jenkins, the county judge, should be able to implement mitigation strategies locally to protect the community.
Jenkins issued an emergency order Wednesday requiring the use of masks in certain county public spaces, including county offices and buildings and commercial entities “that provide goods or services directly to the public.” The emergency order also requires the use of indoor masks for students, teachers, staff, and visitors at county child care centers and schools, regardless of immunization status.
“Our hospitals and our people desperately need some time to increase the capacity of beds and doctors so that their hospitals do not overflow,” Jenkins said Friday morning.
‘The enemy is the virus, not the others’
In an attempt to block the mask-wearing mandate at the local level, Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a petition saying the county’s emergency order violates the governor’s order.
“This is not the first time we’ve dealt with activist characters. It’s déjà vu again,” Paxton said in a statement Wednesday. “Attention-seeking judges and mayors have challenged decrees before, when the pandemic began, and the courts ruled in our favor, (of) the law. I am confident that the results of any lawsuit will align with freedom and individual choice. , not with the mandates and excesses of the government. “
But at a time when healthcare staff are overworked and resources are scarce, “the stakes are high,” Jenkins said at Friday’s conference, adding that “not so many people are being asked to wear a mask. “.
“We need to reject these attempts to erode local control because government works best when it is closer to the people,” Jenkins said. “But we must also remember … this is not a battle between Governor Abbott and local leaders who happen to be Democrats or school board members.”
“We are all on the public health team,” the judge said. “And all people must understand that the enemy is the virus, not the others.”
CNN’s Keith Allen contributed to this report.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism