MMH talks COVID-19 related deaths, 12 so far in September

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MIDLAND Texas (Nexstar)- Midland Memorial hospital held a news conference Thursday to update the community on coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths in the community. 

As of Thursday morning, the hospital reports its overall census remains high at 244. However, the COVID-19 census remains at 99, down from weeks of triple digits. 29 of those hospitalized are ventilated, according to the hospital. 89% of the patients are unvaccinated, with 11 currently hospitalized with a breakthrough infection. 

The positivity rate at MMH run testing centers is sitting at 25% this week, which is also trending downward slightly. However, as hospitalizations and positivity rates are down, deaths, are not. So far, MMH says 12 patients have died from complications with the virus in September. 

“Even though our numbers are beginning to trend down a bit, we have had a high number of mortalities…A total of 12 already in only nine days of September. That’s ahead of the pace we saw in August,” said MMH chief Executive Officer Russell Meyers. 

Hospital leaders say August had the third highest number of coronavirus related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. MMH shared a graph with the community Thursday illustrating the number of COVID-19 deaths in relation to death rates in years before the pandemic began. The graph shows a substantial jump in mortalities due to the pandemic, as overall, deaths in Midland County from causes such as old age, natural illness, and accidents have remained steady and consistent year after year. 

The graph shows on average, Midland County sees about 567 deaths per year. That number has risen by 132 per year since the beginning of the pandemic. 

“Those COVID deaths are net, new deaths above a very stable average number of deaths over multiple years. They are not deaths that would have just happened otherwise. There’s no question this thing is real, and it is having a devastating impact on our community,” Meyers said. 

Once again, hospital leaders are stressing the importance of vaccines, saying they are key to lowering the overall hospitalizations and death rates. 

“Vaccination is very, very important…Most all the patients we see in the hospital that are critically ill and sick with COVID, these are individuals that did not vaccinate. The vaccine is holding up really well,” said Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. James Richardson. 

About 42.4% of eligible Midlanders are fully vaccinated, according to the hospital. A little more than 51% have received at least one dose. 

“We’re doing a little bit better each day, but we remain a very poorly vaccinated community and that’s reflecting in our numbers,” Meyers said.

Anyone wanting to schedule an appointment to get vaccinated may do so here

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