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Jefferson County ICU beds full as holiday weekend begins, some patients already being transferred to Houston

COVID-19 patients are occupying 36 of the 86 ICU beds in the county

 There are no available ICU beds in Jefferson County according to data released by officials on Wednesday.

It’s not the first time this has happened in November. Dr. Qamar Arfeen said we’re in a mini crisis mode right now Thanksgiving Day less than 24 hours away.

Hospitalizations are up, but they’re manageable at this point. That’s why our actions in the next few days could make all the difference.

Doctors and nurses nationwide are as prepared as they can be for a possible surge in the coming weeks.

“It is of concern, that if, God forbid we have a increased surge of number of patients presenting to the emergency room that are sick, requiring hospital beds, that’ll be a challenge for us,” Arfeen said.

He’s the COVID-19 unit lead intensivist at Baptist Hospital in Beaumont.

“COVID patients in the hospital have almost doubled in the past two, three weeks,” Arfeen said.

There’s been a 112 percent increase in COVID-19 patients in the ICU in Jefferson County. This is the fourth time this has happened in November alone.

If things get worse, Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick said the county will request state resources.

“We’re almost running into full capacity. In the past two days, we’ve had to transport patients to Houston,” Arfeen said.

Arfeen said transferring patients is normal, they are prioritizing COVID-19 patients, so people with other illnesses are taken to Houston hospitals for better care.

“So transferring is not a bad sign, it’s just getting them help when we’re out of capacity,” Arfeen said.

While cases are rising, Dr. Arfeen said they’re equipped to better treat them. Part of that is because of the antibody drugs the state started shipping last week, but there’s a catch. They’re only helpful for high-risk patients who aren’t experiencing severe symptoms yet.

“Our goal of course is to treat them early and effectively so that we don’t out burden our hospitals,” Arfeen said.

He said if you do test positive, it’s best to seek treatment as soon as possible. You can reach out and set up a virtual appointment for doctors to prescribe any medications if necessary by sending a message to covid@dgphysicians.com.

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