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Cameron County judge says he's concerned about hospital capacity

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Valley Baptist Health System hospitals in Cameron County were over capacity Tuesday — with full beds, full intensive care units and full emergency rooms.

Leslie Bingham, the CEO of Valley Baptist Medical Center-Brownsville, provided a summary of the situation Tuesday afternoon during a news conference with Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr.

"The trends right now speak for themselves," Bingham said, adding later: "Avoiding surge in hospitals — we weren't able to do that."

During the first six days of July, the hospitals experienced 11 deaths related to COVID-19, Bingham said.

Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen had 199 coronavirus patients Tuesday, with 73 on ventilators, Bingham said. The hospital had 45 patients in the intensive care unit and the emergency room was over capacity.

Valley Baptist Medical-Center Brownsville had 117 coronavirus patients Tuesday, with 15 on ventilators, Bingham said. The hospital had 20 patients in the intensive care unit and the emergency room was over capacity.

Treviño, the county judge, said he was concerned about crowds on South Padre Island beaches during the Fourth of July weekend.

Treviño said he'd seen video showing people not wearing masks and not following social distancing guidelines. Treviño said he also watched video that showed people wearing masks and following social distancing guidelines.

Within the next few weeks, Cameron County will see whether or not people followed the guidelines — in the number of new COVID-19 cases, Treviño said.

Treviño thanked Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Department of Emergency Management for sending medical resources and staff to assist local hospitals.

Hospital capacity is a serious problem, Treviño said, adding that hospitals need space for people with non-coronavirus related medical problems, including heart attacks and strokes.

"This cannot sustain itself for much longer," Treviño said.

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