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COVID-19 numbers soar across Odessa, Midland

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PERMIAN BASIN, Texas (Nexstar) – Both Medical Center Hospital and Midland Memorial Hospital reported a significant increase in coronavirus-related hospitalizations as the highly transmissible variant of Omicron travels across Texas .

As of Tuesday morning, MCH said it was caring for 82 patients with the virus, a sharp increase from last Thursday when the hospital cared for fewer than 60 coronavirus patients. MCH says 20 of its patients are on ventilators. The patients ranged in age from 19 to 89 years old.

In Midland, MMH says it is caring for 88 patients on its COVID-19 floors. That number is also up significantly from last week. Additionally, the hospital has reported 15 deaths so far in January.

“We are coming back to very high numbers,” said MMH CEO Russell Meyers.

Midland has not only seen a higher number of hospitalized patients, but also an increase in positive tests. In fact, the positivity rate through MMH testing centers is at around 50% this week. The centers also reported a 50% rate last week, where 719 people tested positive for the virus.

“That, far and wide, is the highest number we’ve ever seen,” Meyers said.

Additionally, the Midland Department of Health reported 2,800 new coronavirus cases last week.

Dr Whitney Craig of the Midland Health Department said: “Omicron is milder, but it makes everyone sick at the same time.

Craig said the positivity rate was up “nine times” from last month and at least three times higher than this time last year.

The latest variant presents more as an upper respiratory infection, with runny nose, sore throat and congestion, than the high fever, loss of taste and smell associated with the original coronavirus variant. Therefore, testing is key to help minimize the spread.

Both MCH and MMH announced last week that they would no longer be performing tests for the virus in emergency rooms as both hospitals have seen an increase in people seeking tests over the past few weeks. People looking for a test are encouraged to call their primary care doctor or call 68NURSE to make an appointment. In addition, most pharmacies and urgent care centers still conduct tests when they are available.

City leaders said anyone feeling sick should stay home until they are tested, especially since most students in Odessa and Midland have returned to work.

Midland ISD is reporting a large increase in coronavirus cases among students and staff. As of Tuesday, MISD reports 147 staff members and 451 students are under quarantine with the virus. During the first week back to school after the Christmas break, the district reported 119 staff members and 276 students becoming ill with COVID-19. For now, the district says it can care for its students in an in-person setting, but that could change if the virus continues to spread.

“We have staff, right now, to open schools, run buses and feed our children,” said Superintendent Dr. Angelica Ramsey.

However, the district had to move staff around to keep things running smoothly.

Hospitals are also sending people around to make sure all patients are cared for. MMH said it has 102 employees in quarantine, compared with the 70 it had released last week.

“Our workforce is our biggest concern right now,” Meyers said.

Both MCH and MMH have requested additional resources from the state, it is not yet known if that assistance will arrive.

https://www.yourbasin.com/news/covid-19-numbers-soar-across-odessa-midland/ COVID-19 numbers soar across Odessa, Midland

Aila Slisco

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