‘Your youngster will wait till one other youngster dies.’ Amid the surge in Covid-19, Dallas County now not has pediatric intensive care beds, the district decide says
“That means if your child is 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 until another child dies, “Jenkins said.” Your child just won’t get on the ventilator, your child will be flown with CareFlight to Temple or Oklahoma City or wherever we can find a bed, but it won’t get one here unless one clears it up. “
The judge added that no beds in the intensive care unit for children had been available for at least 24 hours. The Texas Department of State Health Services told CNN that the shortage of pediatric intensive care beds was related to a shortage of medical staff.
“Hospitals are approved for a certain number of beds, and most hospitals regularly have fewer beds than they are approved for. You cannot use beds without staff to occupy the beds for which they are licensed, “department spokeswoman Lara Anton said in an email, adding that recruiting agencies in the state are working to recruit health care workers from across the US to recruit.
Earlier this week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that more than 2,500 medical workers would be dispatched to hospitals across the state to help with the rising number of Covid-19 patients. In Texas, more than 11,200 people with Covid-19 are being hospitalized with Covid-19, according to the state, with about 323 ICU beds still available nationwide.
Jenkins spoke with 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 at risk.
In July, Abbott issued an executive order that combined many of its previous Covid-19 regulations, which included a language no government agency, including school districts, could require masks.
Dallas was among several Texas counties that sued the governor earlier this month, filing an injunction against Abbott’s order to enforce mask mandates in hopes of containing the spread of the virus. On Tuesday, on orders from Abbott, Judge Tonya Parker found that Dallas Counties “have been harmed and injured and will continue to be injured” and ruled that Jenkins, the district judge, may implement mitigation strategies at the local level to protect the community.
Jenkins issued an emergency ordinance on Wednesday mandating masks in certain public spaces in the county, including county offices and buildings and commercial establishments that “offer goods or services directly to the public.” The emergency ordinance also stipulates that pupils, teachers, employees and visitors to daycare centers and schools in the district must wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status.
“Our hospitals and our employees urgently need time to increase bed capacity and doctor capacity so that their hospitals do not become overcrowded,” said Jenkins on Friday morning.
In an attempt to block the local mask mandate, Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a petition alleging that the county emergency order was against the governor’s order.
“This is not the first time that we have dealt with activist figures. It is a déjà vu again,” said Paxton in a statement on Wednesday. “Attention-grabbing judges and mayors agreed and the courts ruled on our side before the pandemic started – the law and government transgression.”
But with health workers overworked and hospital resources overloaded, “the risk is very high,” Jenkins said at the Friday conference, adding that “not that many people are being asked to wear a mask”.
“We need to roll back these attempts to undermine local control because government works best when it is closest to the people,” Jenkins said. “But we also need to remember … this is not a battle between Governor Abbott and local leaders who happen to be Democrats or members of the school board.”
“We all depend on the team’s public health,” said the judge. “And everyone has to understand that the enemy is the virus, not the other.”
CNN’s Keith Allen contributed to this report.