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Hospitals to create buffer under new order

This buffer will be required when the COVID-19 hospitalization rate is 25% or higher, which as of Monday it is.
Published: Dec. 14, 2020 at 10:16 PM CST
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - There are now 131 people in the hospital with 50 of them in the ICU, placing our hospitalization rate at 31%.

That’s what we’re being told by the City of Laredo, and as a result of this a new health order was signed by officials on Monday.

In it, leaders are hoping to tackle ICU capacity concerns by requiring local hospitals to keep a 5-10% cushion when it comes to ICU capacities.

Under the new public health order released on Monday, local hospitals are required to move towards creating a 5-15% buffer in their ICU’s and med surge units, meaning local hospitals have to leave an occupancy cushion before hitting 100% capacity.

This buffer will be required when the COVID-19 hospitalization rate is 25% or higher, which as of Monday it is.

The Laredo health authority Doctor Victor Trevino says some options allowed by the order to achieve the buffer include hospitals transferring patients to step down facilities, alternate care sites, in-person treatment and transfers to out-of-town facilities with the assistance of the state Strike Teams.

He says this order is needed to be issued so no patient is turned away because of capacity.

“This is to assure the health and safety to the public first. We are working with the hospitals as additional mitigation measure are initiated as part of the city’s surge plan.”

Trevino says there is limited space at hospitals and a surge is expected during winter vacation.

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