MMH talks lowering census, COVID-19 deaths, booster vaccinations

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MIDLAND, Texas (Nexstar)- Midland Memorial Hospital held a news conference Tuesday to update the community on coronavirus hospitalizations. 

“Census numbers overall and COVID in the hospital continue to decline,” said Chief Operating Officer Stephen Bowerman.

As of Tuesday, MMH said it is caring for 66 people with the virus. The overall coronavirus census has significantly dropped week over week. Of those hospitalized, the hospital said about 88% are unvaccinated. The patients range in age from 20 to 89. 

In total, the hospital said it is caring for 188 patients. That census is down considerably from August. As such, the hospital said it will slowly begin offering elective outpatient surgeries again.

“We do have bed availability, so we’re working with our physicians and surgeons to open that back up very slowly this week and hopefully get back up and running at full pace in the next week or so,” Bowerman said.

While overall hospitalizations are down, coronavirus related deaths are not. The hospital says 29 patients have died from coronavirus complications so far in September. 

“That’s alarming. We’re two-thirds of the way through the month,” Bowerman said. 

In August, the hospital reported 31 COVID-19 related deaths. 

The hospital continues to urge everyone eligible to get vaccinated. Now, an FDA panel has recommended booster shots anyone over the age of 65, as well as for those at high risk.

MMH defines high risk as anyone with a Body Mass Index of 35 or greater, as well as patients with underlying medical complications such as hypertension, diabetes, or respiratory disease. The hospital is awaiting CDC and FDA approval but says both organizations usually follow the advice of the panel. If that recommendation holds, MMH says those needing boosters would be eligible for a third dose six months after receiving the second dose. 

“Our police has been, and will continue to be, that if you present and say you have underlying health conditions, we’ll ask you what they are, but we’re not going to be pressing you for documentation. If you have underlying health conditions, you will be offered a shot,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Larry Wilson.

 You may schedule an appointment for your vaccine here

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