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Texas health department deploys more staff to hospitals during COVID surge


Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday that the Texas Department of State Health Services arranged deployment of more than 2,500 medical personnel to support hospitals across Texas as COVID-19 cases surge.

The first deployment will be completely funded by the state up until Sept. 30 but further deployments may require split costs with local governments or individual facilities.

"The State of Texas is taking action to ensure that our hospitals are properly staffed and supported in the fight against COVID-19," Abbott said. "Texans can help bolster the state's efforts to combat the virus by getting vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, and it is our best defense against the virus."

DSHS said it is working with staffing agencies to quell the workload "that cannot be met locally," and prioritizing recruiting medical staff from out of state. DSHS has been directed not to utilize staff from other Texas facilities and said health care professionals should work with "counties, cities and other partners to meet needs locally whenever possible."

Facilities that require additional resources can submit a State of Texas Assistance Request, though DSHS is asking that facilities and local governments keep their requests "judicious" as all regions of the state are currently underserved.

The announcement comes as a nurses staffing shortage impacts the state at a time when the Delta variant is spreading quickly. The Texas Nursing Association said the shortage is getting increasingly worse as nurses are "burned out" and leaving the profession.

The Austin-Travis County area's hospitalization rate reached heights facilities haven't seen since January. More people of all ages are contracting the virus and Austin ICUs are nearly at capacity, with only six beds available as of Wednesday evening.

To find a vaccine near you, click here.


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