MIDLAND, Texas — UPDATE: Another patient, a woman in her 70s being treated at Midland Memorial Hospital, died April 23.
This is the third death of a resident and the fifth death reported in the county.
Midland Medical Lodge has been working to slow the spread of COVID-19 in its facility since April 3 when the first staff member tested positive.
As we have learned, the virus spreads fast. As of Tuesday night 29 staff and residents have been infected by the virus, comprising 34-percent of the facility.
“When we realized that a hot spot was there it became apparent that it would be important to do the contact tracing to track down anyone or any resident that might be affected," Lawrence Wilson, vice president of medical affairs at Midland Memorial Hospital, recounted.
Dr. Wilson says new research shows the first step to getting an outbreak under control is to test everyone.
So on Friday, that is what they did.
“We’ve seen that when you have an outbreak of this nature, testing more comprehensively gets you on the other side of it,” Wilson said.
While the majority of the Medical Lodge residents are at-risk, Dr. Wilson says many of the patients and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 have been asymptomatic.
“The mass majority of patients there remain at Midland Medical Lodge are asymptomatic, so that is good," Russell Meyers, Midland Memorial Hospital CEO, said.
The facility has also taken measures to control the spread. There is now an isolation wing at the Lodge where any residents who have tested positive are now staying and getting treatment if needed.
However, new questions are now arising regarding the timing of the public's notification of the potential outbreak. The Midland Health Department took nearly two weeks after the first cases connected to the Lodge were confirmed to make notify most people. They are calling the situation a lesson learned.
“Certainly you could suggest that we could have moved more quickly once there was a known positive, but I think each event we have we learn from," Meyers said. "If we see beginnings of an outbreak at another nursing home community I think we probably would move a little bit faster.”
The Lodge believes the virus was brought in by a staff member, not a visitor.
The health department says they have been in communication with family members of residents since the first staff member tested positive.
One resident has moved out of the facility since the outbreak.
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