“This means if your child is in a car accident, if your child has a congenital heart defect or something and needs an intensive care bed, or more likely if they have Covid and need treatment. ‘an intensive care bed, we don’t have one. Your child will do it until another child dies, ”Jenkins said. “Your child just won’t have access to the ventilator, your child will be sent by CareFlighted to Temple or Oklahoma City or wherever we can find a bed for him, but he won’t have one here unless he is. clear. “
The judge added that no intensive care bed had been available for the children for at least 24 hours. The Texas Department of State Health Services told CNN that the shortage of pediatric intensive care beds was linked to a shortage of medical personnel.
“Hospitals are licensed for a specific number of beds and most hospitals routinely have fewer beds than they are licensed for. They cannot use unstaffed beds. With the increase in COVID cases, hospitals are experiencing a shortage of people to staff the beds they are approved for, ”department spokeswoman Lara Anton said in an email, adding that State recruiters were working to recruit medical backup staff across the United States.
Earlier in the week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that more than 2,500 medical staff would be deployed to state hospitals to help with the growing number of Covid-19 patients. More than 11,200 people are hospitalized with Covid-19 in Texas, according to state data, with approximately 323 intensive care beds available statewide.
In July, Abbott issued an executive order combining several of its previous Covid-19 orders, which included language that no government entity, including school districts, could require masks.
Dallas was among several counties in Texas that sued the governor this month and requested a restraining order against Abbott’s order to be able to implement mask warrants in hopes of curbing the spread of the virus. On Tuesday, Judge Tonya Parker determined that residents of Dallas County “have and will continue to be damaged and injured” by order of Abbott and ruled that Jenkins, the county judge, should be allowed to implement measures. local level mitigation strategies to protect the community.
Jenkins issued an emergency order on Wednesday imposing masks in certain public spaces in the county, including county offices and buildings and business entities “providing goods or services directly to the public.” The emergency order also mandates indoor masks for students, teachers, staff and visitors to daycare centers and schools in the county, regardless of immunization status.
“Our hospitals and staff are in desperate need of time to increase their bed and physician capacity so that their hospitals are not overrun,” Jenkins said Friday morning.
In an attempt to block the local mask warrant, Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a petition claiming the county’s emergency order violated the governor’s order.
“This is not the first time that we have dealt with militant characters. This is again déjà vu, ”Paxton said in a statement Wednesday. “Attention-grabbing judges and mayors once defied executive decrees, when the pandemic began, and the courts ruled on our side – the law. I am convinced that the results of all lawsuits will be on the side of freedom and individual choice, not government mandates and excesses. “
But with overworked healthcare workers and strained hospital resources, “the stakes are very high,” Jenkins said at Friday’s conference, and added he “isn’t asking so many people to wear masks.” .
“We need to push back on these attempts to erode local control because government works best when it’s closest to the people,” Jenkins said. “But we also have to remember… this is not a battle between Governor Abbott and the local leaders who happen to be Democrats or members of the school board. “
“We are all in the public health team,” said the judge. “And each person must understand that the enemy is the virus, it is not the other. “
Keith Allen of CNN contributed to this report.