This Houston hospital is reporting 500% increase in COVID admissions as fear of surge increases

Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Houston hospital reports 500% increase in COVID admissions
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Doctors fear we're going to see another surge. At United Medical Memorial Center, the virus is hitting those who haven't gotten the vaccine the hardest.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- COVID-19 cases are on the rise across the country and inside United Medical Memorial Center, Dr. Joseph Varon said their COVID unit is filling up to a level they haven't seen since last fall.

"In the last 14 days, we've had a 500% increase in the number of admissions," he said.

As the Chief of Critical Care for the UMMC COVID unit, he fears we are embarking on another surge, this time hitting unvaccinated people the hardest and even seeing entire families admitted.

"We have, for example, the family of a lady that was 90-years-old," explained Varon. "They decided to have a big party for her and everybody got sick in the family, even the 90-year-old woman. The one common denominator in all of them was that everybody was not vaccinated, for one or another reason."

Another woman at a vaccine education pop-up told ABC13 she is choosing not to get the shot for personal reasons.

READ ALSO: Is Houston seeing a mirror image of last year's COVID summer surge?

New data shows more people are getting vaccinated. Texas Health and Human Services said this past week, 349,166 Texans got vaccinated, which is the highest number in weeks.

"I'm concerned about my health issues," she said. "So, that's the reason why me, personally, I'm not ready to get the shot."

The Houston Health Department offers four after-hours vaccine sites across the city.

On Monday night, the Sharpstown location had just three appointments and the other locations were reportedly just as empty.

But hope is on the horizon with a slight increase in vaccinations across Texas last week. Varon said these shots must continue on a sharp incline in order to keep the spread of the virus from surging like last summer.

"I know that there are some risks associated with vaccination, no question about it, but there are also risks of getting in the car and driving from one place to another," said Varon. "When you are in the middle of the pandemic, where things are absolutely terrible, vaccine is one way to get to where we want to go to stop the spread of this nasty illness."

For more information on the Houston Health Department's after-hours vaccine clinics and vaccine information, visit the city's website.

For updates on this report, follow ABC13 reporter Shelley Childers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.