As the number of COVID-19 cases increases, Chambers County Judge Jimmy Sylvia, Chambers County Local Health Authority Dr. William Clay Brown, Chambers County Public Health Director Mary Beth Bess and Chambers County Emergency Services Director Ron Nichols urgently appeal to Chambers County residents to take personal responsibility for their own health and actions and take steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 in their communities.
The COVID-19 Pandemic is wreaking havoc on the local, regional and state healthcare system, restricting the level of and speed at which emergent care can be delivered. As of the issuance of this statement, the Chambers County EMS call volume has increased 73 percent over this time last year and 67 percent of calls are to either COVID-19 positive or suspected positive patients.
Many regional hospitals have declared Internal Disasters or are unable to take patients due to lack of available beds or staff. Patients are spending an average of 96 hours in the Emergency Room before they are moved to a bed. Many are being treated in hallways and medics are being left with patients who are waiting to be admitted so that ambulances are able to return to service.
Several times over the past week Chambers County County EMS, Winnie-Stowell Volunteer EMS and Mont Belvieu EMS have found themselves at either Level 1 or Level 0. This means that there was one or zero ambulances in the County available to respond to emergency calls.
Because of this, hard decisions are having to be made regarding how emergency care is delivered. EMTs and other medically trained professionals are being stationed in the dispatch center to triage emergency calls and determine the appropriate level of response. Some patients are being encouraged to stay home if that is medically appropriate. If medics are unavailable, calls are being placed in a queue and responded to in order of severity.
Additionally, there has been an increase in the number of COVID-19-related deaths in Chambers County.
Since this surge in cases began on July 7, 2021, 15 Chambers County residents have lost their lives because of COVID-19.
None of this information is meant to scare you. This is all fact. Chambers County and regional healthcare providers are in a medical crisis, and this crisis will not just affect those who have COVID-19. As long as this persists, EMS response and hospital wait times will be extended. This means that if you have a heart attack, if you’re in a major motor vehicle accident or if you have any other emergent healthcare need, the time it will take for help to reach you is going to be much greater than normal.
You have a choice. You have the opportunity to decide what is right for you and your family. But understand that every decision that you make impacts the people around you. If you were to contract COVID-19, your case may be minor. But what about your family members? Your friends? Your coworkers? Do they have an underlying health condition that you are unaware of?
Please take the appropriate health measures to keep yourself safe. Wash your hands, wear a face covering and practice social distancing. If you are sick, stay home.
COVID-19 vaccines are available in Chambers County at no cost and data shows that those who are vaccinated have a much higher rate of survival and much lower risk of severe complications and hospitalization due to COVID19. Interested in getting your first, second or booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 409-267-2731.