DSHS: RGV has 72 available ICU beds, 143 ventilators

The Rio Grande Valley is facing COVID-19 with 72 available ICU beds and 143 ventilators, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Dr. Emilie Prot, DSHS regional medical director of Harlingen-based Region 11, said Friday morning that Texas currently has 1,300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 18 fatalities. Prot said Mexico has confirmed 585 cases, with Matamoros and Reynosa both reporting a case.

As of mid-morning Friday, 11 of the Texas cases are in Hidalgo County, 13 are in Cameron, three are in Starr and one is in Willacy.

“A majority of our cases are actually young. We have around 26% that are from the age of 20 to 29. We also have another 26% that are from the age of 40 to 49,” Prot said. “All of them have presented with very mild symptoms. They’ve had fever, cough, shortness of breath; they’ve also had body aches, or malaise, and also headaches. These are very common symptoms.”

According to Prot, the RGV is ready for the virus to ramp up locally.

“Our hospitals are prepared,” she said. “We have a lot of ICU beds that are available in the Rio Grande Valley.”

Prot said there are 72 available ICU beds in the RGV, 143 ventilators, 18 negative pressure rooms, 38 negative pressure rooms on the floor, and 750 non-ICU beds.

“There have been clearance of a lot of beds for places for COVID-19 patients,” she said.

Prot also commented on the standing of personal protective equipment (PPE) in Valley medical centers.

“Our hospitals here in the Rio Grande Valley have made exceptional efforts to conserve PPE through canceling elective surgeries and implementing conservation methods to conserve what PPE they do have,” she said. We are monitoring their burn rate as well as their status, and currently hospitals are on-par or above average than hospitals across the rest of the state.”