ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar)- Medical Center Hospital and Odessa Regional Medical Center Hospital held a news conference Thursday to update the community on coronavirus hospitalizations.
MCH says it has had 43 patients die from complications from the virus since August 1. 15 of those deaths have been since Monday, August 30.
ORMC did not give an update on coronavirus deaths at the news conference, but both hospitals are still reporting high numbers of patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
Currently, MCH is caring for 102 patients with the virus, 34 of those are ventilated. The patients range in age from 16 to 88. ORMC says it is caring for 32 patients with coronavirus, 9 of those are on a ventilator. Those patients range in age from 25 to 94.
Both hospitals say they are hopeful they will soon see a decline in the number of hospitalized patients but are remaining cautious.
“I think there is hope, we look at the number every day, we are cautiously optimistic that we’re going to see this get off this incline and break over and get steady. But our steady number is too high,” said MCH Chief Executive Officer Russell Tippin.
“Hopeful is the best word to use,” said ORMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rohith Saravanan. “We’re starting to see the community to get vaccinated.”
So far, just over 50% of the eligible population in Ector County have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
While doctors say vaccination is the best way to combat the current surge, for those sick with the virus, early detection and treatment is key.
“If you test positive, get in front of a medical provider quickly,” Tippin said.
Saravanan echoed that statement saying monoclonal antibody therapy is the best way for patients to avoid hospitalization. That therapy is available to patients only within the first 10 days of infection.
“For outpatient therapy, that’s the one proven regimen that actually prevents hospitalization. Of all the people that we’ve given monoclonal therapy to, in Ector County and Midland, more than 90% of those people have not required hospitalization,” Saravanan said.
So far, it is unknown if the current surge in the community has peaked or not, therefore, hospital leaders are urging caution ahead of Labor Day weekend.
“We’re getting back into that cycle where things start getting into holidays. They ramp up, and then another holiday, and then another one. And we’re right back in that situation we were in this time last year,” Tippin said. “You start getting groups of people together and we know how quickly this moves. Be very careful.”
As such, local leaders as urging people to mask up, wash their hands, and get vaccinated if possible.
“If you look at what’s going to happen in our community with mass gatherings, with holidays, we’re just pleading with our community to just wear your mask, wash your hands, get your vaccine. And if you’re sick, get in front of your provider as quickly as possible. Let’s get you recovered and keep you out of the hospital,” Tippin said. “We know from our past experience after a holiday, I think last time, seven or eight days after a holiday, we saw a spike. Please be careful.”