Buses at East Texas hospitals indicate help has arrived

Buses at East Texas hospitals indicate help has arrived
Buses parked outside of a Longview hotel. (Source: KLTV)

LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - Rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are stressing hospital systems all over the country and here in East Texas, but some relief has arrived in the form of additional nursing staff.

Buses spotted in the parking lots of Longview hospitals are a sign that help has arrived in the form of more nurses.

“Since July, our hospitals have been experiencing a surge of COVID patients. The state of Texas has activated a contract to bring staffing in that can back-fill those missing staff members,” said Beth Powell-Surface, the hospital preparedness manager for the Piney Woods RAC.

The RAC, or regional advisory council, has stepped in with nurses and equipment.

“We have them there for morning shifts and afternoon shifts,” she said. “They’re from Florida, California, New York. We’re at close to 1,300 that we’ve brought in across 27 counties. We’ve been giving PPE to hospitals ever since.”

With concerns over nurse-to-patient ratios, dozens of nurses were brought in to bridge the gap.

And at some of the hotels, it’s difficult to get a room right now. They’re filled with nurses.

Nurses are at the forefront of direct patient care.

“The hospitals have told us it’s been a real pillar of the way they stay in business and continue to treat patients,” Powell-Surface said.

And Powell-Surface added not to forget those who have continued from the very beginning.

“Nurses. A lot of them that started at the beginning of this, and they’re still there,” She said. “I think we’re going to remember the doctors and nurses as being the heroes that stood on the front line.”

The RAC is providing nurses to health care facilities in 27 East Texas counties.

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