MMH caring for 57 COVID-19 patients, no other hospital beds available

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MIDLAND, Texas (Nexstar)- Midland Memorial Hospital says it is at capacity and has no additional hospital beds available amid the current Delta variant coronavirus surge.

According to Dr. Larry Wilson, MMH Chief Medical Officer, they are currently treating 57 COVID-19 patients, 20 of those are waiting in Emergency Room beds for in-patient beds to become available. Wilson says this is causing the wait time for patients needing emergency care to take longer than it should. Wednesday evening 39 people left without being seen because of the long wait time in the ER. 

“We have no bed availability currently and have been in this position for well over a week,” Wilson said. 

MMH says is it closed to out of county admissions, it has also suspended all elective surgeries requiring an overnight stay, even still, the hospital is at capacity. 

“We’ve been unable to transfer patients from our facility to other facilities because all surrounding hospitals, including surrounding state hospitals are in a similar condition because of the current surge of COVID patients.”

Dr. Larry Wilson

Wilson said in the past 48 hours, they were able to find only one hospital bed available in Colorado. 

Chief Nursing Officer Kit Bredimus said, “This surge is unlike anything we’ve faced before.”

There are currently eight patients to every one nurse, according to Bredimus, who also said the hospital is facing a very real staffing shortage. 15 staff members are in quarantine, one is hospitalized with the virus, and another 21 are in monitoring. Bredimus said they are looking nationwide to find nurses and respiratory therapists to help fill the gaps, but also says every other hospital in the country is doing the same. 

Wilson said of the surge, “We are asking for your help by getting vaccinated, please.”

Wilson said seven of their 57 hospitalized patients are fully vaccinated. In total, Midland has had only 81 vaccinated people come down with the virus since vaccines were rolled out. And only a hand-full of those required hospitalization. 

“None of those seven breakthrough patients are on ventilators or in CCU. They tend to do well, recover, and go home. The reality is, very few of those (breakthrough cases) people ever get sick,” Wilson said. 

Midland Memorial Hospital is re-opening their vaccine site for anyone wanting to get the vaccine now. From 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. every Friday, they will administer the shot to anyone who walks in and asks for it at the West Campus at 4214 Andrews Hwy.

When asked about vaccination hesitancy driven by social media posts, Wilson said, ” Well established, credible resources that are publishing information…there was an article in the New England Journal of Medicine that looked at two (different two dose vaccines) and looked at the protection from those vaccines against the Delta variant specifically and it shows a very high, 88% protection. But there’s still 12% of the (vaccinated) people out there that are potentially going to get infected. If somebody sees one of those people infected and turns around and puts it on social media saying you can get vaccinated and still get sick, I don’t know how to combat that.”

Of the current surge fueled by the Delta variant, Wilson said he expects it to die down within six weeks to two months. 

“The current rate of spread of this Delta variant is remarkable. If you are unvaccinated, you will either get vaccinated, or get COVID in this surge. And it’s going to burn very hot and very fast and then be done,” Wilson said. 

Wilson said the rate of positive tests has increased along with the hospitalizations. A few weeks ago, the number of positive tests per day was in the single digits. Last week, that rate jumped to 50 per day. Wilson said there were 109 positive cases confirmed Monday and 121 confirmed Tuesday of this week. 

“We are under resourced to handle this in a safe fashion,” Wilson said. 

Of the 57 patients currently hospitalized with the virus, Wilson said the patients range in age from 20-80. The hospital has reported four COVID-19 related deaths in the last week. 

Over in Odessa, Medical Center Hospital is caring for 52 patients. Six of those patients are vaccinated, however, they are not in CCU, nor are they ventilated. The patients in Odessa range in age from 15-83.

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