Houston Methodist CEO says doing this can slow delta variant surge in just 2 weeks

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- New COVID-19 data predictions show we could still be weeks away from seeing peak numbers as the delta variant surge continues.

The delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread, overwhelming the health care system.

According to SETRAC (Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council), about 31% of patients currently in the ICU in Harris County are COVID-19 patients.

Daily new hospitalizations in the Texas Medical Center are up 300% over the past month.

Hospitals are doing everything they can. Doctors and nurses are working extra shifts, and additional staff has been brought in to help with the surge.

Dr. Marc Boom, the president and CEO of Houston Methodist, said it's hard to say exactly when things will peak, but models show it could be a couple of weeks to a month before we start seeing cases drop off.

"The best case models we're seeing as a peak (are) within a couple of weeks, which will put a record number of patients in our hospitals, but not massively over our previous surges, but significantly over. Other models are well into the end of the month, into even the first half of September, in which case, we're going to see dramatic new records," said Dr. Boom.

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Prior to the recently announced out-of-state agreements with staffing agencies, there were already agreements in place, but they abruptly stopped.



Dr. Boom said there is something we can do about this. Last summer we saw a spike in cases, the city's second wave. Once the state mask mandate went into place, cases dropped pretty rapidly.

Dr. Boom said if everybody today acted like they did when that mask order was put into place last year, we could see improvements in 10 to 14 days.

Doctors are encouraging people to get vaccinated and to wear masks in public places, especially where there's high transmission.

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