Emergency responders busy with COVID-19 calls as hospitalizations reach an all-time high


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — On Sunday, El Paso saw the highest daily spike in the number of cases and the highest number of hospitalizations since the virus began.

Local hospitals are starting to feel the impact of hospitalizations surge. Sunday morning, numerous COVID-19 related calls came over the emergency scanner.

“Covid-19 patient,” one dispatch said.

“Flag this last call as a positive COVID-19 patient,” a paramedic reported while asking for additional time to decontaminate their ambulance.

Then, a chilling reminder of the strain our hospital system is currently experiencing. “Reminder that Del Sol and Del Sol east are currently closed until further notice.”‘

A statement from Las Palmas Del Sol said in part “Our current COVID census is placing a disproportionate stress on our staffed bed capacity, and especially our ICU capacity, at this time. We are taking deliberate measures to mitigate this impact and to ensure we have the physical bed and staffing capacity needed to effectively manage this ongoing patient surge.”

Last night Las Palmas Del Sol closed down a free-standing ER on Zaragoza so that staff could be moved to the two Del Sol hospitals.

As of Sunday, University Medical Center says it is experiencing a similar surge of patients but is not at full capacity.

“Right now, we are out 57 inpatient COVID-19, and so we are able to handle those patients as well as any other patients coming to us for other ailments or any other issues that they might have,” said Ryan Mielke, spokesperson for University Medical Center.

The Hospitals of Providence said they’re preparing for a potential surge of critical patients.

A statement sent to KTSM read in part, “Our network of hospitals has the capacity to treat patients presenting to our hospitals, and we urge the community to not delay seeking needed care”.

Data from the El Paso Health Department shows that the number of people hospitalized because of COVID-19 jumped from 251 on Saturday to 277 on Sunday. The hospitalizations in El Paso due to the virus are 59 more than a week ago at this time and 100 more than July 1.

The number of people in ICU also increased from 84 to 91, and 34 patients are currently on ventilators.

Statewide, Texas has 10,410 hospitalizations — 2,229 more than a week ago.

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