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Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins: 'Let Me Be Blunt, We Don't Have Enough Tests'

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Warnings from state and local leaders signal the strain COVID-19 could place on hospitals.

"There is more demand than there are available supplies," Governor Abbott said during a news conference from Austin on Tuesday.

Last Friday, Dallas County reported it had a little more than 4,300 available hospital beds, 400 of them in intensive care units.

Even by conservative estimates the county said that could fall thousands short of what it will need.

"We're working hard to increase our bed capacity," said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins Tuesday evening.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins (credit: CBS 11 News)

Dallas County says it is looking at available buildings, including parking garages and shuttered hospitals where it could quickly open up new hospital space

An announcement is expected in the coming days.

"Under extreme circumstances, you could put up tents and have additional beds. There could be maybe space available in a building where once was a hospital," said Steve Love, the DFW Hospital Council CEO.

Love says action by the Governor will also help ease the shortage.

Governor Abbott has ordered a halt to elective surgeries and called for beds where needed to be doubled up, two to a room.

On Tuesday, he also ordered hospitals to provide daily reports on the number of available beds.

Regarding tests for COVID-19, Judge Jenkins said, "Let me just be blunt. We don't have enough tests." 

He said If someone in your house tests positive, you don't need a test because you already should be in quarantine.

He says tests need to be reserved for those not already in quarantine.

Later, Judge Jenkins tweeted, "Any retired physicians and nurses who would be willing and able to join our efforts to combat #COVID19 in Dallas County, please email:"

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