ICU capacity strained at LBJ and Ben Taub hospitals due in part to COVID-19

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Intensive care units at two of Harris County's hospitals are at or near capacity, and the COVID-19 crisis is only adding to the problem.

The ICU at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in northeast Houston was at 100 percent capacity Thursday morning, according to system officials.

Ben Taub hospital was at 90 percent capacity Thursday, which means there is at risk of running out of beds in its ICU.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, both facilities reported a high capacity in ICUs.

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ICU use is up sharply since April 1st, and even more so in the last 7 days.

Both hospitals are almost always full but are now treating about 20 percent of their patients for COVID-19.

The two facilities are owned and operated by Harris Health System, a public agency that serves all Harris County residents.

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Harris Health Systems CEO Esmaeil Porsa said there are about 51 COVID-19 patients across the Harris Health System hospitals and administrators have been watching the virus cases steadily increase.

Both LBJ and Ben Taub are on different levels of diversions, meaning some patients are being taken to other hospitals.

"We have been near capacity for a while. Over the last couple of days, it has been a little worse," Porsa said. "We have seen a little bump in the number of patients and also the total number of COVID-19 patients."

ABC13 has been told patient care is not suffering, but patients who need intensive care will likely have to go to other facilities.

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