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An uplifting message was put in front of the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital sign on April 6 in Denton.

Medical City Denton and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton are no longer allowing elective surgeries and procedures so that they may increase capacity for COVID-19 patients.

Texas Health announced Tuesday that outpatient and nonessential surgeries would halt Thursday.

Medical City Healthcare announced in a news release Thursday that area hospitals would postpone elective inpatient surgeries and procedures from Monday, Jan. 11, until Feb. 1. Essential and emergency surgeries will continue.

“This will enable us to further expand capacity and staff while reserving resources for patient care,” the statement said.

“We will continue to monitor the situation closely, and we won’t resume surgeries and procedures until COVID-19 counts are low enough again to do it safely,” spokesperson Stephen O’Brien said in an emailed statement to the Denton Record-Chronicle.

Officials would not say what specific thresholds would meet their criteria to perform these surgeries again but did say that surge plans to increase hospital capacity to care for COVID-19 patients were now underway.

“The prevalence of COVID-19 positive patients has caused a severe stress on inpatient and emergency department bed capacity and staffing resources,” spokesperson Amanda Uffman said in an email. “This along with record numbers of COVID-19 positive cases in our communities demands that our hospitals initiate their surge plans to accommodate the increased volume.”

Over the past month, Denton County has had three to 10 ICU beds available on any given day, according to data from Denton County Public Health. Since October, more and more of those beds have been occupied by people fighting COVID-19.

The move comes a little more than a month after both hospitals requested additional assistance from the Texas Department of State Health Services, asking for staff who could assist with these patients, such as registered nurses, respiratory therapists and paramedics.

 

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