Out-of-state healthcare workers coming to Texas as state hits record low ICU beds, Gov. Abbott announces

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FILE – In this Tuesday, June 8, 2021, file photo, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference in Austin, Texas. Abbott, who faces a contested reelection primary next year, is pushing looser gun laws than he ever previously embraced and proposing unprecedented state actions, including promises to build more walls on the Mexican border. Similar scenes are playing out in campaigns in other red states including Arkansas and Idaho, where ultra right-wing challengers are tapping into anger among Republicans over Trump’s election loss and coronavirus-related lockdowns. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Governor Greg Abbott announced Monday that the Texas Department of State Health Services will bring in medical personnel from out-of-state to assist healthcare facilities fight the growing number of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The announcement came the same day Texas hit a record low number of ICU beds available.

KXAN has previously reported that Austin healthcare workers have hit a critical point, saying this is the busiest they have seen hospitals during the entire pandemic.

“I can’t even explain to another person who is not in the hospital with us, what it is like to call families of our COVID patients, and listen to their cries,” Anna Vu-Wallace, an internal medicine hospitalist, told KXAN Sunday.

In a release sent Monday, the governor named several additional actions he was requesting of various state agencies to combat COVID-19.

  • The governor also sent a letter to the Texas Hospital Association asking hospitals to voluntarily postpone medical procedures that are not necessary or immediate. KXAN has reached out to TMA to see if they plan to comply with that directive.
  • Gov. Abbott directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management and DSHS to open additional COVID-19 antibody infusion centers to treat patients that have COVID-19 but do not need hospitalization. The Lubbock location, which is already operational, will be expanded, and another site will open in San Antonio Tuesday.
  • The governor also directed agencies to expand vaccine availability.

“Texans can help bolster our efforts by getting vaccinated against COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, and it is our best defense against this virus,” Governor Abbott said in that release.

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