Coronavirus Hospitalizations Have Tripled in Houston Since Memorial Day Weekend

The city's Children's Hospital is now admitting adult patients to ease the burden on other hospitals

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Photo: Karen Ducey/Getty

Hospitalizations for the new coronavirus, COVID-19, have tripled in Houston since Memorial Day weekend, the CEO of Houston Methodist Hospital said Wednesday.

“We have seen hospitalizations triple across the board,” CEO Marc Boom said on Good Morning America.

Boom attributes the increase to people disregarding social distancing guidelines and mask-wearing recommendations when businesses began to reopen.

“I think what’s happened is people have just completely let their guard down,” he said. “… Somewhere around Memorial Day people just sighed a deep breath of relief and said, ‘Hey, it’s summer, I’m going to act like it’s summer and I’m going to act like this thing was never here.’ And we’re really paying the price for that now.”

Texas is one of 26 states in the U.S. that is experiencing a steep rise in new COVID-19 infections, and one of several states breaking its own record of new cases each day.

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On Tuesday, Texas saw 5,080 new cases of COVID-19, which is 320 more cases than the record set the day before, according to The New York Times COVID-19 tracker. That is four times higher than the caseload Texas was seeing in April, during the nationwide peak.

Due to the increase in cases, Texas Children’s Hospital, which is also in Houston, has started accepting adult patients.

"We are committed to doing our part to assist the city as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise," a spokeswoman for the Texas Children's Hospital said in a statement, ABC News reported.

At Houston Methodist Hospitals, Boom said that the new infections are largely in younger patients, which can be seen as a slightly positive development — since as a group they are affected less severely than older people.

“Younger patients we know have done a little bit better throughout the course of this … the result is we’re seeing lower lengths of stay, which allows us to care for more patients and handle a higher volume,” he said. “We’re also seeing a much lower proportion of ICU beds needed … we’re seeing less ventilator usage, less death, and that’s all obviously good news. We’re watching that closely.”

To get Texas’ numbers back down, Boom said that citizens need to get back to following social distancing guidelines and start wearing masks.

“It’s critically important that the citizens of Houston really all rally together to do all of the right things so we can contain the spread of this virus and the increases that we’re seeing,” he said.

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