ODESSA, Texas — Hospitals are keeping a close watch on their supply of a critical piece of equipment as they continue to battle with the surging COVID-19 numbers.
As more people are hospitalized with severe symptoms from the virus, ventilators are a must have to treat those patients.
Ventilators have always been important, but COVID-19 is proving that piece of equipment to be vital.
The problem? Hospitals have to stay on top of their supply because the pandemic has made it more difficult to get enough of them.
"The way the COVID-19 works is it attacks your lungs and you're no longer able to breathe so this actually breaths artificially for you and pretty much gets you going," said Dr. Renato Galindo, Director of the Cardiopulmonary Department at Medical Center Health System.
Medical Center Hospital is using 32 out of their 37 ventilators, leaving only five available for patients who may potentially need them.
"There are agencies that will rent ventilators to us but due to Texas being such a hotspot right now those are hard to come by, you could be on a wait list for months before you get a rental in," said Galindo.
Forcing hospitals in the region to lean on federal and state support to stay well equipped.
"Having FEMA support providing us what we do need is critical at this time," said Galindo.
MCH has requested another 20 vents from FEMA; they've already received 10 and have three transport vents on standby.
"There's a team of us dedicated to monitoring it daily even on our days off are technically not our days off because we're really staying on top of monitoring what care our community really needs," said Galindo
For now, MCH says there's no reason to panic because they're doing everything they can to make sure the hospital has what it needs to help those who need it most.
Midland Memorial Hospital wasn't able to provide a breakdown of what ventilators belong to which institution but they did say that they have 61 ventilators across the hospital and that 37 of those are in use.