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Hood County: Zero ICU beds available, 60% increase in COVID-19 cases in three weeks

“Most of the people in our community don’t seem to see this as a problem. That’s the problem,” said Amanda Pape, a resident of Hood County.

HOOD COUNTY, Texas — The only hospital in rural Hood County is still reeling from the COVID-19 surge fueled by the Delta variant.

Both Wednesday and Thursday, there were zero ICU beds available in all of Hood County. 

Thursday, data from Hood County Emergency Management showed 72% of ICU beds in Hood County were filled with COVID-19 patients, while 38% of the county’s hospital capacity was COVID-19-positive.

Jay Webster, Hood County’s Emergency Management Coordinator said there’s one positive trend he’s optimistic about: COVID-19 hospitalizations have dropped compared to this time last month.  

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On the other hand, there’s reason for concern. 

The Delta variant continues to spread throughout the community. Thursday, the county reported 871 active COVID-19 cases — a 60% increase from three weeks ago, when the county had 544 active COVID-19 cases on Aug. 26.

“You have to remember we just had a holiday, everybody got together for the holiday. We feel like we’re gonna continue to see that trend,” said Webster.

As the county faces several days with zero ICU bed availability, some patients are being transferred to hospitals across the Metroplex. Webster said the transfer portal for the region has worked well recently, and it’s taking some of the strain off of the county’s only hospital. Out-of-state medical personnel have stepped in to alleviate staffing shortages at Lake Granbury Medical Center.

Amanda Pape, a Granbury resident, is concerned about the surge in her community.

“My husband is older, he has some health issues and we live in fear if something happens there’s not gonna be a bed available for him,” said Pape.

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Pape said her step-granddaughter who lives in Collin County contracted the virus. She’s in her late 20s, unvaccinated, and ended up in the hospital for 11 nights.

Like so many, Pape wants the pandemic to come to an end for good, but she’s starting to lose hope.

“Most of the people in our community don’t seem to see this as a problem. That’s the problem,” Pape said.

Webster said dropping the regional infection rate and freeing up more beds in the region is critical.

“By the time we start to level off we’ll have Halloween, then we’ll have Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's,” said Webster. “It’s the up and down roller coaster ride that we’ll be living for a little bit.”