Mass vaccine clinic starts Tuesday

COVID numbers dipped slightly at MCH, ORMC

Local health officials were still gushing during Monday’s Zoom COVID news conference over the City of Odessa’s sharing of the wealth of American Rescue funding while also detailing that Ector County officials remain mum on if they will also help the local hospitals that have been overwhelmed during the last 18 months.

Medical Center CEO Russell Tippin said the $3 million pledged from the city will go to “bedside patient-facing staffing including nurses and respiratory therapists who directly have their hands on patients.”

ORMC CEO Stacey Brown said the funding has sent a strong message to the overwhelmed and exhausted staff that “the city supports us.”

Tippin and Brown gave thanks for the rescue funds. “Thanks a lot for supporting both hospitals with rescue funds. … Thanks for believing in us and for our patients and citizens of Odessa. … We appreciate the city being a good partner,” Tippin said adding that both MCH and city officials were working together on the paperwork that will get the City reimbursed for funding that is given to COVID-related medical needs.”

Tippin reported that MCH had 87 COVID patients in house and said the number had dipped into the 70’s over the weekend but then went back up on Sunday and overnight. He said 30 are on the Critical Care Ward with 29 on ventilators. Most remain unvaccinated and most are from Ector County. The age range was 16 to 89.

Brown’s numbers at ORMC were 23 inpatients with 13 in ICU and nine on ventilators. She said about 90 percent are unvaccinated and about 53 percent were below age 50.

Odessa Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Rodd Huber reminded Odessans that the free vaccine clinic begins Tuesday and also that MCH had received about 384 doses of REGEN-COV and that the doses should last about a week. “We have limited doses to the state of Texas,” he said.

He said volunteers are lined up for the COVID clinic Tuesday that will include Moderna and Pfizer and reminded that no one can get a third dose without a doctor’s note.

He said they are good on staffing with volunteers from OC and UTPB but that donations of water would be helpful.

In other COVID news:

>> The Urgent Care on 42nd remains closed. All staff has been relocated to the JBS Parkway and Westside.

>> Odessa Regional Medical Center Chief of Staff Dr. Rohith Saravanan said Pfizer data for emergency use for kids under age of 12 is “looking good in regard to safety and efficacy” and said that hopefully a CDC recommendation for approval for 5 and up will come later this month or the next.

>> The Biden administration will require all international travelers coming into the United States to be fully vaccinated and tested for Covid-19 under a new system that will open up air travel to vaccinated foreign nationals from dozens of countries for the first time since the early days of the pandemic.

Starting in early November, foreign nationals will be allowed to fly into the U.S. if they are fully vaccinated and able to show proof of vaccination prior to boarding a U.S.-bound flight, White House COVID coordinator Jeffrey Zients said.

The requirement will ease travel restrictions that limited entry into the U.S. in many cases for non-citizens who had recently been in 33 countries, including many European nations and the United Kingdom, regardless of vaccination status. But for travelers outside of those countries, the new system will put stricter requirements in place that could be a barrier to those living in countries where vaccines are in short supply.

Need a vaccine?

>> The City of Odessa, the University of Texas Permian Basin and the Ector County Health Department have announced a COVID-19 vaccination clinic. The clinic will begin Tuesday and will be open Tuesdays– Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the UTPB soccer complex parking lot.

>> Drivers are asked to not line up on the Highway 191 frontage road. First and second shots will be offered. Third shots will be available for those who have passed the 8-month threshold, unless a doctor’s note is provided.

>> Information on booster shots is subject to change in accordance with CDC guidelines. The vaccination clinic is open to the public. Five-hundred (500) vaccines are available each day. No appointment or pre-registration is needed. Both Pfizer and Moderna will be available.

>> Bring a vaccination card (wait times are expected to increase without vaccination card) and your driver’s license.