FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Cook Children’s Medical Center announced Thursday evening, Sept. 16, it is rescheduling all elective surgeries that require inpatient admission to Oct. 11 or later.

This is due to the latest surge in COVID-19 cases, the hospital said.

“We’re taking this extraordinary step to utilize Cook Children’s perioperative RNs in other areas of the hospital, including ICUs,” the hospital said in a news release. “Pediatric beds in our community are scarce and Cook Children’s is no exception. For the past month, we have evaluated elective surgeries on a case-by-case basis and rescheduled as needed. As more and more inpatient beds are needed with no end in sight, the situation is dire, and this strategy will no longer suffice. There are only so many beds available and we must provide room for critically ill children who must be hospitalized.”

“This is not a decision our administrative team takes lightly,” said Stan Davis, Chief Operating Officer at Cook Children’s Health Care System. “Elective surgeries are not synonymous with cosmetic or unnecessary procedures. These are children who require surgical intervention to improve their health and wellbeing. We are doing everything in our power to ensure every child who needs us is taken care of.”

In addition to rescheduling elective surgeries, the hospital said it is having to divert patients away from Cook Children’s when beds are not available.

This does not just affect children with COVID-19, but kids with all sorts of medical issues from traumatic accidents to new onset diabetic ketoacidosis, the hospital explained.

“It’s unfortunate that we are physically unable to care for all of the children who need us right now. If we have to divert a patient away from Cook Children’s, we ensure we find them an appropriate facility, though that may be several hours away from home or even in another state,” said Cheryl Petersen, Chief Nursing Officer at Cook Children’s.

“Right now, we’re asking for patience and understanding as we work to handle the burden COVID-19 is weighing on our health care system. But we need your help. Please get the COVID-19 vaccine for yourself and all eligible children. It is safe and effective. In fact, half of the COVID-19 patients we have treated since the vaccine was approved for children 12 and up have been unvaccinated teenagers. To date, we have not treated a single vaccinated patient for severe COVID-19,” the hospital said.

Currently, Cook Children’s is treating 39 COVID-19 patients, 13 of whom are in the ICU. Staff