DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in North Texas, health officials are making predications for what we could see in the coming weeks, especially when it comes to hospitalizations.

“The outlying counties have an even faster growth rate,” Associate Director of UT Southwestern’s Clinical Informatics Center Dr. Mujeeb Basit said. “Each region has a different perception of the disease and that difference in behavior is causing rates of growth.”

The DFW Hospital Council reports as far as hospitalizations go, there are currently about 1,700 coronavirus patients in hospitals throughout Collin, Dallas, Denton, Tarrant and Grayson counties. That’s about 85% of the highest number of hospitalizations seen back in July. They’re filling about 33% of available ICU space.

“You can only get to about 40 to 50%,” Dr. Basit said. “If you really push the envelope and scale the ICU beds, you might be able to get a higher percentage than that but then you become limited by the amount of staffing you have, the amount of equipment that you have.”

“If we continue on this rate right now in one week we will be at the highest levels we’ve seen in terms of the numbers in the hospitals, the ICU numbers,” Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang said.

“If you need an ICU bed and you need a ventilator and you can’t get it, the mortality rate skyrockets,” Basit said. “The more we can do to take personal responsibility and not spread the disease, the better we can reduce these numbers.”

Heading into the holidays, health officials say it’s incredibly important to remain vigilant. Traveling and large group gatherings are not recommended.

Erin Jones