Additional vaccine hub to open in North Texas

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The City of Garland will open a drive-thru vaccine hub, but the mayor says the opening may be several weeks away as the city awaits delivery of thousands of doses. This week, the Texas Department of State Health Services says Garland will receive 1,000 doses.

Through Sunday, the state says 1,109,874 Texans had received their first dose of the vaccine; 166,934 were fully vaccinated. In Dallas County, 81,643 people have received one dose; 14,623 were fully vaccinated.

Dallas County Health and Human Services says 12,122 doses had been administered at Fair Park through Sunday, and 6,000 doses were expected this week.

Sunday, hospitals in the 19-county region had 3,907 COVID-19 patients using 23.7% of capacity. Hospitals in the area had 76 available ICU beds.

"We need the public to redouble their efforts," says Robert Fine, an internal medicine doctor at Baylor Scott and White. "It's so critical."

Fine says hospitals in the area have had plans in place for months on how to handle a surge in patients, including adding ICU beds, bringing in extra staff and, potentially, rationing care to help those most likely to recover.

"We have never been closer to needing to activate these guidelines if we're going to save as many lives as possible, just never been closer to that," he says. "Physicians would rather not be in this position. We need the community to do everything they can to prevent transmission."

"We're going to scrape, kick, punch and do everything we can to make sure this doesn't become activated," says Dr. Mark Casanova, president of the Dallas County Medical Society.

Right now, Fine says doctors and nurses have three to four times as many patients as normal.

"That means less time for each patient," Fine says. "We know when doctors are stressed and burnt out, this is from studies, we know that's when medical errors happen."

Fine and Casanova say people will need to keep wearing masks and social distancing to prevent hospitals from becoming overcrowded even with more of the vaccine arriving.