ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar) – A local medical administrator says a nearby migrant facility is contributing to an overall capacity issue at medical centers due to various reasons including COVID-19.
Russell Tippin, CEO of the Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, says a spike in medical issues at the migrant child facility in Pecos is driving up the overall patient count in area hospitals.
“One of the biggest concerns outside of here, we’re dealing with what is going on with our friends in Reeve’s County. Last week we talked about the immigrant camp there for children. It seems like that camp there is overwhelming their hospital. Which in turn, overwhelms all of us in this area,” Tippin said.
Area hospitals are treating migrant children for a variety of reasons such as COVID-19, Chicken Pox, and pregnancy, Tippin added.
“They’ve got a disaster on their hands. That federal problem has now become a local problem,” Tippin said.
Officials with the Odessa Regional Medical Center and Medical Center Hospital in Odessa held a news conference Monday to update the community on the coronavirus response within both hospitals.
One of the medical centers is caring for 96 patients and 35 of those patients are on a ventilator, officials said. The patients range in age from 13 to 87.
The hospital saw its largest spike during the pandemic over the weekend when it had a reported 103 COVID-19 cases. The hospital reports seven patients have died since Friday. Since the beginning of August, MCH has reported a total of 19 deaths related to the virus.
Odessa Regional Medical Center is caring for 26 patients as of Monday, seven of those are on a ventilator. In Big Spring, Scenic Mountain Medical Center reported a coronavirus census of 18, four of those are on ventilators. ORMC says about 90% of their patients are unvaccinated.
Staffing remains an issue for both hospitals. 39 staff members are out either sick from the virus, or in quarantine, between the two hospitals. Additionally, MCH says it is at max capacity in the hospital, as well as in their urgent care clinics.
“This is very serious,” Tippin said. “It’s not a joke, it’s not fake news. I can promise you everybody that’s in this hospital is very sick.”
Aside from the situation in Pecos, doctors and hospital staff also expressed their concern about upcoming events amid the Delta variant surge.
Football games are set to begin this week, and the Permian Basin Fair is also set to go on as planned, and this is an area of huge concern for those on Monday’s media call. Even though Fair officials have agreed to provide hand sanitizer as well as a station for vaccines, the health care providers say that won’t be enough to stop the spread.
“I’ll tell you about the fair that scares me the most is, these young kids that go to the fair, they get exposed there and they take that back into the schools and they give it to their friends, and that all puts a lot of people at risk. We could see that as a super spreader event,” Tippin said.
“We are past the point of where we were in our previous peaks. So, this is not a time to even ask the question, should we be considering their event? We absolutely have to cancel those,” said Chief Medical Officer at ORMC Dr. Rohith Saravanan.
And, while it seems those upcoming events will go on as planned, the doctors are asking anyone planning to attend to use caution; wear a mask, maintain social distance, and use hand sanitizer frequently.