ANDREWS, Texas — The recent surge in COVID-19 the past couple of months has impacted most hospitals when it comes to staffing and caring for more patients.
However, for Permian Regional Medical Center, the virus has also delayed the construction of a new building that was designed for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.
The new unit will be the first of its kind in Andrews, with current patients having to go elsewhere.
"They're having to get put into these specialized memory care units and the closest ones are in Midland, Lubbock, Brownwood area, so its just kind of a stretch on the family to have to place their loved one in memory care units so far from homes," said CEO of Permian Regional Medical Center Donny Booth.
Many people in Andrews are looking forward to the new unit.
"I've had numerous people come up to me and say they just can't wait for the memory care unit to open, so they can either, A, move their mother here, or there's even some that are taking care of their mothers at home," said Booth.
The memory care unit was supposed to have its groundbreaking on Oct. 1, but that didn't happen because of COVID-19. The groundbreaking is now expected to take place on Jan. 1.
"There's two parts of it that have really been a challenge for the construction industry, one is the cost of materials, and for construction, that does not bode well for you to meet budget," said Booth.
The high construction prices delayed the project because the hospital budgeted $8 million, and they want to stick to that.
"We hate that COVID has put a damper on the project as a whole, and I know we've even heard it from the community members, but being fiscally responsible, we have to do what's in the best interest of the community and our taxpayers," said Booth.