NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Local health officials are warning that the situation is becoming increasingly critical in hospitals throughout the Metroplex. Dallas County reported record high cases and hospitalizations Tuesday, while Tarrant County reported a single day record for COVID-19 deaths.

“We’ve been saying this for several weeks, but it’s really getting critical,” said Director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, Dr. Philip Huang. “I mean there are contingency plans for increasing, you know, doubling up on beds, things like that, but you know you have to have staff to take care of those people in the beds.”

According to Monday’s numbers from the DFW Hospital Council, COVID patients now take up more than 27 percent of bed capacity. They make up more than 51 percent of the ICU patients. ER’s are also busy. Doctors are urging people to use virtual visits unless you have a true emergency.

“We want to keep emergency rooms for what they’re for: true emergencies, not minor illnesses,” said Dr. David Winter, an infectious disease doctor at Baylor University Medical Center.

Even if you suspect COVID, Dr. Winter said help is available through their MyBSWHealth app and online portal.

While the vaccine is certainly giving us a light at the end of the tunnel, Dr. Huang said we still have a long way to go. He said it could still be July to October before the vaccine is widely available. Until then, he urged everyone to do their part to help stop the spread.

MORE FROM CBSDFW