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'Busting out of the seams': West Texas hospitals pushed to the limit in unprecedented Covid-19 surge

November 20, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

The pandemic has crept into smaller communities, overwhelming hospitals in even the most unexpected places -- from the sparsely populated oil fields of West Texas to the desert-mountain region of El Paso.

This week the hospital is treating 28 Covid-19 patients as of Thursday.

"The only space that's not full right now is the hallways," said Dr. Rohith Saravanan, the hospital's chief medical officer.

"For every patient that you see here, there's several more that are positive outside the hospital that could have used some care, but there's no space," he said.

Some of those patients go home with oxygen -- something the hospital doesn't normally do, Saravanan said.

As of Thursday, the two hospitals in Odessa had close to 130 Covid-19 patients -- nearly double the roughly 70 who were hospitalized here at the height of the crisis this summer.

At one point in late July, nearly 11,000 people were hospitalized with Covid-19 in Texas.

The Odessa hospitals, Saravanan said, are working with city officials to request a mobile morgue.

Medical Arts Hospital began preparing for one or two Covid-19 patients about a year ago.

She said area hospitals have added 600 beds and flown more than 80 ICU patients to other Texas communities.

Odessa and Midland are two of the largest cities in the expansive West Texas region, and their hospitals are taking in Covid-19 patients from far beyond their county borders.

"We're getting patients from everywhere," said Dr. Saravanan, the chief medical officer at Odessa Regional Medical Center.

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