Texas Hospitals Strain Under Weight of Emergencies

February 18, 2021
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Healthcare facilities regularly update and practice their emergency preparedness plans in anticipation of a catastrophic event that threatens regular operations. Hospitals in Texas, however, are in the midst of dealing with several substantial emergencies simultaneously — the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccine distribution, a massive winter snowstorm and a statewide power outage. The results for some facilities have been chaos.

State health officials scrambled Monday to administer more than 5,000 Covid-19 vaccines after a deadly winter storm pummeling the state caused a power outage in a facility storing the doses, according to NBC News. A backup generator at the Harris County Health Department failed, thawing freezers that kept a total of 8,430 doses of the Moderna vaccine, according to Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.

In Waco, hundreds of businesses closed due to snowstorms bringing single-digit temperatures to Central Texas, but hospitals don’t have that option, according to KWTX.

“Our campus has been impacted by the weather,” said Dr. Tameka Jones with Baylor Scott & White (BSW) Medical Center-Hillcrest. BSW officials say their teams practice emergency scenarios throughout the year, and over the last week, they’ve been focused on preparing for extraordinary weather. Hospital leaders have been making arrangements for team members to remain on-site at the hospital and at nearby hotels.

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