AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — As the Delta variant surge continues across Texas, vaccinations are also increasing.
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) reported Tuesday that vaccinations are rising all across the state.
“We’ve gotten to a point now for the last seven days, where over 90,000 doses a day administered in Texas. We had been down kind of in the 40 to 50,000, early in July. So, that’s a pretty significant increase,” DSHS Spokesman Chris Van Deusen said.
Van Deusen said many of those vaccine shots came from people getting their first doses.
“We’ve been trying to remind people, ‘Listen, you know. Don’t wait, because this is getting to be obviously a serious situation, you know, that’s been developing over the last several weeks,'” Van Deusen said. “That’s been our message to people and it really seems like people are starting to heed that call some more.”
He did not have regional vaccination information on hand but said the trend is occurring statewide.
“It hasn’t all happened at the same pace in every part of the state but it does look like that vaccination is continuing everywhere,” Van Deusen added.
However, he said unvaccinated people are still making up the majority of COVID patients in Texas hospitals.
“This burden on the hospitals is really falling so squarely because of the unvaccinated population at this point,” Van Deusen said. “As we talk to hospitals and hospital systems around the state, I mean, 90-95% plus, of the people that they are seeing in their hospitals with COVID-19 are people who have not been vaccinated. So, that’s really what we’re seeing now is this very serious effect on the unvaccinated population.”
But help is on the way as DSHS deploys medical personnel to hospitals across Texas based on their population and level of need.
Van Deusen said on Tuesday, this first round should be about 90 personnel for Trauma Service Areas A&B, the Amarillo and Lubbock areas, respectively. He said he expects there will be additional staff in the future, depending on the need.
“They should start arriving today, in fact, to bolster the staff that’s there on the ground, that’s been working so hard,” Van Deusen said on Tuesday.
As new cases continue to increase, he said deaths will likely trend upward.
“I’m cautiously optimistic, we may have seen the positivity rate sort of level off. So, you know, maybe we’re getting something close to a peak of this now. But, certainly, hospitalizations are still on the way up, and deaths are as well,” said Van Deusen. “I think our concern is that you know, we’re going to see those deaths increasing really across the state.”
As a precaution, the state asked FEMA for five morgue trailers.
“It’s a precaution at this point. Just based on kind of the data and what we’re seeing, we didn’t want to wait and request those. We know it takes a few weeks for those to come in once you make that request to FEMA and so we didn’t want to put that off and you know, get in a position where local jurisdiction cities and counties needed those resources, and they weren’t available.”
Van Deusen continued, “We’ll have them centrally located and if there are any parts of the state that get into a concern with that if they don’t have mortuary space available, we can certainly use these to help fill that need.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, he said DSHS had not received any requests for the morgue trailers.
In the meantime, they are encouraging Texans to get vaccinated if they have not gotten their shots yet.
“The sooner you get it done, the sooner your body will start building those antibodies,” Van Deusen said. “Hopefully, if we can continue to for people to get vaccinated, that’ll keep a future surge like this from happening.”
DSHS reported on Tuesday that one-third of all Texans ages 12-17 were fully vaccinated, and nearly half had one dose.