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TWEET EMAIL CORONAVIRUS TEXAS In potentially hard hit Houston neighborhoods, anxiety spreads over COVID-19 spread

In her Tuesday morning announcement of a Stay Home order, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo suggested she was nervous about public health predictions that the region's supply of hospital beds wouldn't be enough.

"By staying home, we're saving lives," Hidalgo told the county.

In neighborhoods where public health experts suggest coronavirus Houston News could be especially hard-hitting, the fear is real.

"Very, very nervous. We take it very seriously," Reda Mitchell told ABC13 from her Settegast neighborhood as her grandchildren played around her.

A study released on Monday from the UT Health School of Public Health identified Settegast, with a high concentration of elderly and chronically ill residents, could be one of the hardest hit in the Houston area.

UT Health authors suggested the region should even consider adding surge hospital capacity in neighborhoods like hers. Those decisions haven't yet been made.

Mitchell had seen the news, "I just went crazy. I was like, 'Oh my God. Are you serious?' I started doing a little bit more cleaning up."

READ ALSO: 13 Investigates: Are Texas hospitals ready for steep rise in COVID-19 cases?

Government and health care leaders preparing for an influx of patients may be more than hospital beds we have. It's one of the reasons behind the stay-home work-safe order.

Hospital CEOs have told the judge a surge in patients may be coming.

"We have currently a capacity to accept more patients. Press Release Distribution Services In Houston However, that capacity is slim and that changes from day to day," said Dr. Esmaeil Porsa, the CEO of Harris Health, which runs Ben Taub & LBJ hospitals. "[Our occupancy is] always above 90 percent."

Porsa said their ICU beds are even more used than that. Methodist Hospital is 68% system-wide and 75% of ICU beds are full. ABC13 asked Memorial Hermann for occupancy data. A spokesperson said it couldn't be shared.

The fear is clear for Houston hospitals, like Ben Taub, that Houston would see what New York is already seeing.

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