MMH talks COVID-19 deaths, vaccine efficacy

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MIDLAND, Texas (Nexstar)- Midland Memorial Hospital held a news conference Friday to update the community on the corona virus response. 

As of Friday morning, the hospital says it is caring for 121 patients with the virus, 29 of those patients are on a ventilator. Those hospitalized range in age from 19 to 89 and 85% are unvaccinated, according to the hospital. 

Four patients have died from the virus in the last 24 hours. The youngest of those patients was in their thirties. 

The hospital says it is still seeing about a 30% positivity rate in those coming to their facility to get tested for the virus. This means, the hospital expects to stay busy for a while. 

“Until that number starts to come down, I don’t expect we’ll see any decline in hospital activity,” said Chief Operating Officer Stephen Bowerman.

The hospital says it has requested a tent to set up in the parking lot to expand emergency room capacity, however, that tent may have to sit there if the staffing situation doesn’t improve. The hospital has requested more staff from the state. Earlier in August, Governor Greg Abbott said he was sending 2,500 workers to hospitals across Texas. He has since expanded that number to 8,100. 

Amid the growing number of hospitalizations, the hospital says there is some hope in the form of vaccines. Vaccination rates have begun to inch higher day by day. 

Last week, the hospital reported about 40% of Midlanders were fully vaccinated. That number has risen to 40.7%. And 50.1% of Midlanders have now received at least one dose of the vaccine. 

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Larry Wilson said since vaccination efforts began in Midland earlier this year, there have been only 170 breakthrough cases. 

“With 40% of the population vaccinated, you would anticipate that if the vaccine did not help, that 3,200 of those infections would have been in those that were fully vaccinated,” Dr. Wilson said. “There’s been 170 breakthrough cases, that’s it. So, 170 versus the 3,200 that you would expect. That shows a 95% efficacy of the vaccine in preventing infection.”

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