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Midland Memorial Hospital adds COVID-19 tent to increase capacity

More than half of the hospital's patients have the virus.

MIDLAND, Texas — Not enough staff, not enough beds and low morale, that is the theme at hospitals in the basin amid this COVID-19 surge.

At Midland Memorial Hospital, more than half of their patients have the virus. 

On Monday, there were 125 COVID-19 patients there. The most the hospital had ever seen.

That is why the hospital requested a tent from the state to house more patients. The tent is set up outside the emergency department and will add an additional 14 beds for COVID-19 patients.

But what about staffing?  

Well, it continues to be an issue. Chief Nursing Officer, Kit Bredimus, said the hospital also received 33 contract nurses and doctors on Monday.

“Seeing a total of 235 patients hospitalized on Aug. 30 is extraordinary," Russell Meyers, Midland Health CEO, said. "This is normally a time in the summer when we go to our lowest census of the year.”

57% of the patients at MMH have COVID-19.

The hospital has postponed elective surgeries and is not allowing transfers. Even so, capacity remains an issue.

“A patient in urgent may arrive here and we will have no place to send them and we have no resources to care for them," Meyers said. "That’s what having this kind of census means, it puts us at that kind of risk every day.”

The community’s positivity rate remains stagnant, around 30% percent.

“As long as those numbers are high, either static or increasing, that tells us some people in the community are going to be hospitalized, either sometime in the next week or two weeks," Meyers said. “There’s no sign just yet of any waning of this current surge. Winter is coming. We’ll see more and more respiratory disease and many more patients who are non-COVID who are in need of beds.”

Out of the 125 COVID-19 patients at the hospital, 87% are unvaccinated.

Meyers pointed out that if more people had received the vaccine, the hospital would not be in the predicament it is now.