ODESSA, Texas — High COVID-19 numbers are triggering local hospitals to take action.
Leaders of Medical Center Hospital met Wednesday where the decision was made that more room needs to be dedicated to potential COVID-19 patients.
Hospital staff spent the day clearing the 9th floor to use as a COVID-19 overflow floor.
This all comes on the tails of the state reaching a grim milestone, topping more than 1 million cases of coronavirus in Texas.
In the Permian Basin, active cases are the highest they've been since the pandemic began and area hospitals are overwhelmed.
"We're getting ramped up for the flu season, we have to think about that on top of COVID, our census is about average for where we've been the past couple of years and then you add COVID in there and our numbers are up," said Amanda Everette, the emergency management coordinator for Medical Center Hospital.
There's so many active cases that leaders of Medical Center Hospital have decided to open another floor to potential COVID-19 patients.
"We're having to move to another floor, change the airflow on that floor to make sure that we're having negative pressure to make sure that the air isn't being pumped into the hospital but back into the atmosphere," said Everette.
With more people needing to be tested, the hospital is running low on rapid COVID-19 tests, leading to longer stays for patients while they wait on results.
"Patients are being held with us in a PUI, or in a patient under investigation, for a longer period of time without getting a definite yes positive COVID or a no negative COVID," said Everette.
This new floor will add around 28 beds.
Hospital leaders hope that this additional floor will provide enough room, but Everette says there's only one thing that will fix the COVID spike we're seeing in our community.
"COVID exhaustion and fatigue is very alive and rampant in our community and around the nation, but unfortunately we still have to stick to our guns and make sure that we are keeping up with the things that our leaders and hospitals are asking our community to do because these things really do help," said Everette.
The hospital does have other surge plans prepared in case they start to reach capacity and they need to be used.