• September 22, 2020

Abbott halts elective surgeries - Odessa American: Odessa College

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Abbott halts elective surgeries

MCH opens another area for COVID patients amid surge

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Posted: Thursday, July 9, 2020 4:16 pm

On the same day Medical Center Health System reported its 12th COVID-19 related death, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott shut down elective surgeries in Ector County and other counties across Texas as case numbers surge.

MCH CEO Russell Tippin on Thursday said elective surgeries are a big part of what helps keep MCH financially stable and said Thursday’s new order is different from Abbott’s previous elective surgery order.

“The scary part now is when I read the order it is open ended,” Tippin said via a CBS 7 and Odessa American Zoom call. “The last time he rolled this out there was a specific 30 day window….this does not seem to have an end date.”

Tippin acknowledged that he and MCH officials had already discussed doing something on their own again in regards to elective surgeries but the governor’s mandate came down before they reached a decision. He said he found out from State Rep. Brooks Landgraf about 1 p.m. Thursday that surgeries were shut down.

“The elective surgery portion of our business is a big, a giant, part of money making,” Tippin said. “You can’t take parts off the motor and run efficiently...it will have a big impact on what we do.”

MCH has already had some layoffs and Tippin said nothing is “off the table” right now and that MCH officials will need to be prepared to examine everything they do again.

The hospital had 51 COVID-19 patients in house as of Thursday afternoon and Tippin said a second COVID floor opened last week is now full and they are moving into the Wheatley Stewart building across the street from MCH’s main building. “The next 10 days will be critical,” Tippin said referring to the timeline from the Fourth of July and an expected jump in positives due to the holiday. “I do see this number increasing.”

Tippin said the maximum number of COVID patients that MCH could safely care for is 80 to 100 even though 50 is stressful on the staff.

MCH can house 220 total patients.

Abbott’s ban on elective medical procedures covers more than 100 counties across much of the state.

Surgeries and other procedures that are not “immediately, medically” necessary — which have already been on hold in many of the state’s biggest cities and several South Texas counties — are now barred in much of the state, from far West Texas to much of Central Texas, Southeast Texas and the Gulf Coast.

Those procedures can still take place in some, mostly rural parts of the state, including the Panhandle and the South Plains, as well as much of North and Northeast Texas, excluding Dallas County.

“We are freeing up more resources to address upticks in COVID-19 related cases,” Abbott said in a statement. “The State of Texas will continue to do everything we can to mitigate the spread of this virus and support our hospitals and health care professionals as they care for their fellow Texans.”

As of Wednesday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients hospitalized with the virus had reached a record high of 9,610 — twice as many as there were on June 25. But the pressure on hospitals is not evenly distributed around the state. Hospital capacity is currently most taxed around the state’s biggest cities, as well as most of South Texas.

Trevor Tankersley, MCH’s director of communications, in an email said the Wheatley Stewart Medical Pavilion is being used for critical care overflow patients and that it opens 20 plus beds for COVID patients.

MCH on Thursday reported its 12th COVID-19 related death, which is the 13th Ector County death. The patient, an 87-year-old male, died Thursday morning. The patient was transferred from Big Bend Regional in Alpine and was admitted to Medical Center Hospital on Wednesday. The patient had pre-existing conditions.

MCH currently has 51 COVID-19 positive patients in-house. That includes 18 on 7 Central from Focused Care Odessa, one from Andrews, one from Sienna Nursing & Rehabilitation; 14 on 8 Central, which includes one from Reeves Co., one from Focused Care Odessa, one from Kermit, one from Sienna Nursing & Rehabilitation, one from Permian Basin Community Center Group Home; 15 on CCU, which includes one from Focused Care Odessa, two transfers from Fort Stockton; four on Wheatley Stewart Medical Pavilion 2nd floor – Critical Care Overflow. Of those patients there are 10 vented in critical care.

Those numbers come from MCH on Thursday. Ector County numbers continue to be difficult to report as the Ector County Health Department stopped updating numbers daily saying it was too much for a limited staff.

The last time the numbers on the Ector County website were updated was Wednesday afternoon. Those numbers show 927 active cases with a total of 1,602 total cases. The site details that those numbers include 7,866 negative tests and 10,406 tests overall with 662 listed as recovered.

The hospitalization rate, which includes MCH and ORMC detailed 63 in the hospitals with 31 in ICU and 17 on ventilators.

The Texas Tribune on Thursday reported Texas’ new confirmed cases of the coronavirus now make up around 14% of the U.S. total — measured by a seven-day average — a significantly higher proportion than its 9% share of the nation’s population. Since July 1, the U.S. has reported 358,027 new infections. Of those, 50,599 were in Texas.

The governor’s order applies to 11 of the state’s 22 Trauma Service Areas: J, K, M, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U and V, as well as Dallas County.

News of the elective surgery suspension comes on the same day as Medical Center Hospital was awarded a $227,387 federal grant through the CARES Act, through the Department of Health and Human Services.

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