DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Ringing in the New Year will look different for many people this year.
Health experts are urging people to celebrate at home, as hospitals report a record breaking number of COVID-19 patients. "As far as hospitalization numbers, this is the worst we've ever seen in north Texas," said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
On Monday the DFW Hospital Council reported Dallas County had just 18 staffed intensive care unit (ICU) beds available and Tarrant County only 6. COVID patients, it reported, now account for about a quarter of all hospital patients in North Texas and nearly half of all ICU patients.
"Any surge beyond this is going to be difficult to manage," said Steve Miff, president and CEO of the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation. The group found that travel over the Thanksgiving holiday helped fuel spread of the coronavirus.
It could be weeks before the effect of Christmas and New Year's celebrations are certain, but hospitals are bracing for conditions to worsen.
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is currently reporting the heaviest traffic it's seen since March.
Local venues are still planning parties, albeit with smaller crowds, distanced tables, and masks. "The people that want to go out will go out, and if they can follow the rules and be safe and stay with us during that time, we're happy to have them," said Vyctoria Cray at the Statler Hotel in Dallas.
County Judge Jenkins, though, says any celebration with people who aren't members of your household can be risky, even more so when they're indoors, in public, and in locations linked to spread, like bars, restaurants, and hotels. He said, "We need to make sure we're not creating super spreader events for COVID."
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