Ahead of New Year's Eve, COVID-19 hospitalizations hit record level in Texas

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Hospitals in Texas reported a record number of COVID-19 patients Wednesday. The Texas Department of State Health Services says hospitals across the state had 11,992 COVID-19 patients Wednesday, an increase of 217 from Tuesday and 2,945 more than December 1.

"Hospitalizations are at their highest level all pandemic. It's safer to only gather with your household for New Years Eve," DSHS wrote on Twitter.

"We haven't even seen the potential surge from Christmas and New Year's yet, so we really need to be diligent as we roll out this vaccine," says DJ Verret, the vice president of the Collin-Fannin County Medical Society.

Hospitals in North Texas reported 3,660 COVID-19 patients Wednesday, using 23.09% of capacity. Hospitals in the 19 county area had a total of 64 open ICU beds, down from 117 December 1.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins says hospitals there had just 16 ICU beds.

"If you haven’t already, please rethink your New Year’s plans and celebrate with only those in your immediate household and avoid high-risk locations like bars or restaurants.  Our hospitals are stretched, at or near capacity, and our healthcare heroes need you to do your part to help our community by following the public health guidance. We have limited ICU bed availability, only 16 adult ICU beds, for a county of 2.7 million residents, and these beds are not solely for COVID patients, but other acute illness, traumas, and acute surgery recovery," Jenkins wrote in a statement.

Dallas County reported 2,292 confirmed and probable cases Wednesday and 15 deaths.

"We’re now at an all-time high for the average of new daily cases as we head into another holiday weekend," Jenkins says.

Tarrant County reported 1,609 cases and 20 deaths. The county reported a record 1,374 COVID-19 patients Wednesday using 28% of hospital capacity, but ICU occupancy had dropped from 99% to 97%.

Denton County reported 591 cases and three deaths. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 480 cases and eight deaths in Collin County.