COVID-19 cases surging in the Permian Basin

Local News

ODESSA, Texas ( Big 2 / Fox 24) – The Permian Basin is seeing another surge of COVID-19 cases. Local medical officials said there has been a large increase of cases in both Ector and Midland Counties, and hospitals are making adjustments in order to combat this new surge.

In a press conference Tuesday morning Russell Meyers, President of Midland Memorial Hospital, said they have asked the state to send extra resources to help combat this surge.

“Just yesterday we began on-boarding 48 mostly nurses with a few respiratory therapists in that group provided by the state,” Meyers said. “So while we’re seeing a region wide increase in disease and in hospitalizations, we’re not immune to that in our own community.”

According to Meyers, out of the 47 COVID-19 patients at Midland Memorial, 15 of them are on ventilators. Medical Center Hospital in Odessa is also seeing a surge of COVID cases. Christin Timmons, Chief Nursing Officer for MCH, said if this spike continues, the outbreak will be just as severe as the spring.

“We are well on our way to having capacity issues,” Timmons said. ” The numbers that we’re seeing, we went down to the 15s and then we’re at the mid-20s and then the 30s and now we’re in the mid-40s. So you’re seeing a slow up tick in that.”

Timmons said the most likely reason for this new spike of COVID-19 cases is the public’s lax in following safety procedures. But this surge will also impact on MCH’s operations.

“You have to remember we’re caring for alot of patients and their not all COVID,” Timmons said. “Other disease process are coming in needing to be hospitalized and so we’re trying to accommodate the COVID isolation patients as well as the non-COVID patients.”

If MCH were to reach capacity, Timmons said they will have to further change their operations such as eliminating procedures, and even setting up tents in the parking lot. But in order to prevent that from happening, Timmons said the public needs to continue to do their part to slow the spread.

“Our numbers are going up and we need people to start being very aware of their distancing and their masks and their hand washing and their over all prevalence of being out in the community,” Timmons said.

Both Midland Memorial and Medical Center Hospital are restricting visitation. The hospitals will be evaluating the outbreak regularly to determine when they can lift those restrictions

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