Hospitalizations on the rise; area hospitals struggle with staffing

Coronavirus

"We're consistently seeing COVID patients come in house, and there's really no end in sight."

ODESSA, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – Area hospitals are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19. Ector County is closing out the week with 227 new cases of COVID-19, the largest two-day jump the county has seen thus far.


​”You never know what’s going to walk in through those doors,” said Medical Center Hospital’s Direct of Public Relations, Trevor Tankersley. “It’s something that we just don’t know what to expect, except to expect the unexpected and expect the numbers to keep going up unfortunately.”​​

Tankersley says numbers change dramatically just from morning to the afternoon. For every four discharges, there are four new admissions.​​

“As of one point yesterday, we were at 51. So that’s a lot of COVID patients in house considering we look at just a month ago, we were only somewhere between 10 to 15.”

​​Staff at Medical Center Hospital are now flipping the out-patient surgery center into a COVID unit, following Governor Abbott’s decision to postpone elective surgeries. As of Friday, MCH has the capacity to prepare 98 COVID beds in total. Of them, 44 are already filled. Trevor Tankersley with Medical Center Hospital says staff are feeling the pinch, as 30 to 40 personnel are out for self-quarantine.​​

“We’re consistently seeing COVID patients come in house, and there’s really no end in sight. So I’m sure it’s weighing very very strongly on their hearts and their minds.”​​

This is a sentiment D. Rohith Saravanan with Odessa Regional Medical Center is echoing.

“Everybody is working really hard and you can see it take a toll, like physically on them, draining them at the end of their shift,” explained Saravanan.​​

ORMC is working to open up new beds for COVID-19 in phases. By the end of Phase Two, the hospital will provide 55 beds in total. 17 of them are currently filled.​​

“It’s kind of a double whammy in the fact that not only are we having surge capacity with patients, but also losing staff to potential sickness or having to be out for quarantine,” explained Midland Memorial Hospital’s Chief of Nursing Officer, Kit Bredimus.​​

MMH has the capacity right now to provide 137 beds for COVID-19 patients. 38 of them are currently filled. While medical resources are plenty, they say they lack the man power.​​

“We have staff that aren’t necessarily critical care nurses, but they can come in and assist a critical care nurse. So that expands a little bit of their capacity. We’re also looking at contract labor – brining in people from out of state.”​​

Tankerlsey also says doctors at MCH are worried about the backlog in elective surgeries when they resume.

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