Data released by a major hospital system in Houston no longer includes information about the hospital’s intensive care capacity, a change reportedly just a day after being updated to show hospitals that they have achieved 100 percent basic capacity due of the COVID-19 epidemic.
The charts updated daily by the Texas Medical Center, a hospital system located in central Houston, contained a warning beginning on Sunday that “an upward trajectory of new daily cases” was continuing, and indicated that the surge in ICU patients “Supports the future ICU resource planning.” However, no indication was available as to when the hospital system would reach capacity.
“Currently TMC institutions are able to serve all patients who require intensive care,”
The Houston Chronicle reported that the data was changed to exclude this information after Saturday’s update indicated that Houston’s ICUs will reach “unsustainable increase capacity” by July 6th.
The Chronicle also reported that the change came after a conversation “between Governor Greg Abbott [R] and hospital executives where the governor expressed disappointment over the negative headlines about ICU capability. “
A spokesman for Abbott’s office denied the Chronicle that the governor’s office had asked hospitals to provide less data on ICU capacity.
“The governor’s office believes that all hospitals should report accurate data to the state and the public as often as possible,” said the spokesman. “We asked for more information to share, not less.”
Texas is one of several states that report sharp spikes in new daily numbers of coronavirus cases, and last week they moved on to slow plans to reopen the state and ease restrictions on public meetings.
“The last thing we want to do as a state is to go back and shut down,” Abbott said Thursday. “This temporary pause will help our state to correct the spread until we are able to enter security in the next phase of opening our state for business.”
“I ask all Texans to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, washing their hands regularly and socially distancing themselves from the others,” he added. “The more we follow all these guidelines, the safer our state will be and the more we can open Texas to business.”