Three emergency rooms in the Houston area were recently forced to close their doors because they couldn't handle the rapid surge of new COVID-19 patients.
Memorial Hermann Health System said the 24-hour standalone emergency rooms at care centers in Kingwood, Spring and Sienna temporarily shut down on Monday and will remain closed until further notice.
"As COVID-19 continues to rapidly surge in the Greater Houston area, and with hospitalizations exceeding prior surge volumes, our workforce is being pushed to the limit," the health care system said in a statement. "We are actively pursuing all solutions to help ease the burden on our hardworking frontline staff and ensure that we continue providing safe, high-quality care to all those who need it."
Patients receiving care at the three emergency centers have either been discharged or transferred to other Memorial Hermann facilities.
Community members who are in need of emergent care should go to the next closest emergency room.
The health system said workers at the three centers are being reassigned to other locations in critical need.
"Memorial Hermann is committed to doing everything we can to ensure we have the necessary resources to help respond to this surge and be there for all those who need our care," the system's statement continued. "But the situation is very serious, and all Houstonians should be concerned."
The health system encouraged every member of the community to take swift action and do their part by getting vaccinated as soon as possible.
"At this point, this is a disease of the unvaccinated and it is preventable if people just get vaccinated," the statement said.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, 67% of the state's population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 55.7% are fully vaccinated. In Harris County, which includes the city of Houston and a number of neighboring communities, 70.6% of residents are vaccinated with one dose and 58% are fully vaccinated.
As of Tuesday, 13,666 COVID patients are hospitalized statewide, according to the DSHS. The state has 7,898 hospital beds and 365 ICU beds available for more patients. In the Houston area, 3,450 COVID patients are currently hospitalized, with 1,456 hospital beds and only 62 ICU beds available.