Houston asks holiday travelers to quarantine
FOX 26 Reporter Matthew Seedorff spoke with medical experts about the damage holiday travel could have on local Houston COVID-19 case numbers.
HOUSTON – New numbers released Monday by the Texas Medical Center show an increase in the amount of people hospitalized with COVID-19.
According to the numbers provided by the Texas Medical Center, hospitalizations remain down compared to their all-time high in July/August.
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However, Coronavirus hospitalizations are up roughly 80 percent compared to October.
“We are concerned about these rising numbers,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
For the last week or so, Mayor Turner has hinted at the possibility of a curfew to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. According to Turner, the Curfew would be his last option designed to close businesses that ignore COVID-19 regulations.
“The last resort we have as local officials is to impose a curfew,” said Turner. “That will [cause them to] just shut down at a certain time.”
According to Dr. James McCarthy, the Chief Physician Executive for Memorial Hermann Health System, they’re getting ready now for another possible surge of COVID-19 patients.
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“We’re filling up all of the units that have been our COVID units for the past 3 months,” said Dr. McCarthy. “We’re going to have to turn more of our normal floor beds, normal IMUs, or even ICUs, into second, third, and fourth COVID units as we go into our surge plans.”
An estimated 50-million Americans traveled for Thanksgiving. According to Dr. McCarthy, they’re expecting to see an increase in the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 throughout December.
“I don’t think there’s any way not,” said Dr. McCarthy. “What we’re hopeful for, is that even though a lot of people traveled, we know that is going to increase exposures, but we’re hopeful that the most medically vulnerable [populations] took themselves out of that scenario.”
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Following Thanksgiving, Houston officials and medical experts are now urging those who traveled for Thanksgiving to be extra cautious.
“You almost have to assume that if you were traveling about, flying about, all over the country, that you were susceptible to carrying the virus or bringing it back,” said Turner.
“That’s why we’re encouraging people over the next few days, to go and get tested, just to know. It will protect people around you, and the people you come in contact with.”
“If you traveled last week to see your family in California, or Chicago, New York, or anywhere, this is not the week to go out to dinner with friends,” said Dr. McCarthy.
“You should dial all of that back. You should be very cognizant and conscious of any symptoms you might get. Don’t assume it’s allergies.”