It’s been 18 months since the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in Texas, and healthcare workers across the state marked the solemn event with five minutes of silence Friday.
Locally, the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council encouraged hospitals to observe the moment at noon, taking the opportunity to reflect on the loss of life and the difficulties caused by the pandemic.
“This is our way of offering thanks to our physicians, clinicians, healthcare support staff and hospitals for their tremendous efforts to prevent and treat COVID-19,” said Stephen Love, president/CEO of DFWHC. “We would also like to create awareness of the ongoing danger of this virus. At this very moment, our hospitals are filling up with patients and people are dying. Our healthcare workforce has been dealing with this pandemic for a very long time.”
The first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed on March 3, 2020, when a resident of Fort Bend County who recently returned from traveling abroad tested positive. On March 13, 2020, less than two weeks later, Gov. Greg Abbott would declare a statewide disaster as the virus spread across the state.
“We would like everyone to focus on three important thoughts during the 5-minute time frame on September 3,” Love said. “First, offer condolences to everyone who has lost loved ones to this virus. Second, thank our healthcare heroes who have been working for so many long months. Finally, ask yourself, ‘What can I do to help stop this virus?’”
Over the past 18 months, almost 56,000 Texas residents have lost their lives to COVID-19.
“If you are unvaccinated, please get vaccinated as soon as possible. They are free and safe,” said Love. “We would also like to ask everyone, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, to please wear masks when around other people. We must decrease this present surge.”
As of August 25, more Texas hospitals were reporting a shortage of ICU beds than at any other time since the pandemic began, with more than 93% of the hospitalized COVID-19 patients unvaccinated, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.