• November 27, 2020

Officials: Celebrate holiday safely - Odessa American: City Of Odessa

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Officials: Celebrate holiday safely

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Posted: Thursday, November 19, 2020 4:47 pm

With Thanksgiving looming, health officials here on Thursday pleaded with Odessans to be vigilant and safe during the holiday to help halt the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

Medical Center Hospital’s Dr. Timothy Benton during a Zoom press conference said Ector County is on pace to have about 800 new positives this week.

“It continues to be a forest fire,” he said. “The hospital is very busy.”

He said Thursday marked day three of an over 15 percent of bed capacity for COVID patients and that in a few more days Odessa will hit the day 7 mark that could trigger greater restrictions, which could mean lowering the percentage of capacity that businesses are allowed to operate at such as restaurants. Last week, Ector County had more than 800 positives.

No one from Ector County was on the Zoom call and no one has attended regularly in months. The county did issue a press release this week detailing that numbers will not be updated on the website due to staffing.

Mayor David Turner has signaled previously that he is ready to cite businesses that allow people to enter without a mask. He said that is not quite ironed out yet as some people have been out of the office, but something could happen next week.

On Thursday,

he indicated he had spoken with Walmart and H-E-B and that they seem to be on board with pulling back some occupancy at Walmart. Turner on the call detailed that the city had come up with commercials to be shared on television and social media saying “it really grabs your attention.”

MCH CEO Russell Tippin urged Odessans to be safe during the holiday with family and friends. “Assume everyone has COVID and protect yourself,” he said.

MCH will host a second drive through testing event from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Center for Health and Wellness on Highway 191. Bring a valid ID and proof of residency. Call 557-6557 for questions. This event is just COVID testing and not flu shots.

Tippin said he plans to stay at home with food and football for Thanksgiving. Others on the call echoed that sentiment on Thursday just as the Centers for Disease Control urged Americans to stay at home and stop the spread.

Odessa Regional Medical Center’s Dr. Rohith Saravanan urged everyone to look at the CDC website for helpful tips on staying safe including travel tips for those who choose not to stay at home.

He said in the last seven days that 1 million new positives were reported across the country. “In our community it is spreading faster than in others.”

He urged people to try a Zoom Thanksgiving as the online meeting service is waving a paid membership on Thanksgiving Day for Zooms longer than 45 minutes.

Benton and Saravanan both addressed the antibody treatment that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says it being shipped to Texas cities. The treatment is not for those in the hospital but for outpatients who don’t require hospitalization but are at risk of getting sicker.

Saravanan also, again, addressed those saying COVID is not different than flu season “We don’t order mobile morgues during regular flu season,” he said

ORMC CEO Stacey Brown reported that ORMC has tested 5,993 with 932 positives and 256 pending. She said 28 are in the hospital with 17 in ICU and 11 of those on a ventilator. Seven of those are from out of the area. ORMC has 45 staff members out with a positive test or an exposure.

MCH reported 91 in hospital patients with 5 persons under investigation and 29 on CCU. Seventeen are in the CCU overflow and 25 are on ventilators. There are 17 on 4; 23 on 7; 21 on 9 and 1 in pediatrics. They have tested 11,513 with 232 pending and 8327 negative.

MCH also reported on Thursday two more COVID deaths. A 78-year-old man and a 96-year-old man. The deaths are the 112th and 113th deaths at MCH. Both were Odessans and both had pre-existing conditions.

The next Zoom call is Tuesday.

Odessa, TX

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