• May 31, 2020

This is not a sprint - Odessa American: Local News

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This is not a sprint

Doctor warns to prepare for marathon

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Posted: Thursday, April 2, 2020 7:36 pm

Odessa Regional Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rohith Saravanan said that the process for battling COVID-19 is more of a marathon than a sprint after Odessa received its 15th positive case of the virus.

“We’re not looking to finish this off and be done with it in a week, two weeks. This is a marathon, this is gonna be here for a while so we need to prepare ourselves while we’re talking about this, even though our news conference times may be shorter, frequency may be less. It doesn’t mean that message is less important. This is a long term thing that all of us need to plan for.”

He said that they don’t have an exact prediction of how long the outbreak could last and that although there are many models that predict the virus will peak in a matter of months, that those are guesses based off academic research and aren’t completely accurate, he said.

Medical Center Hospital CEO and President Russell Tippin announced at the press conference that the Health Department had reported 15 positives.

He said that MCH has four patients who have tested positive, three of whom are in critical condition on ventilators while the other recovered and was discharged. MCH has received 38 negative tests with 16 of those pending approval.

Saravanan reported that ORMC has 51 tests sent out in total, 27 pending, six positive cases and 18 negative. He said that they have five patients related to the virus in the hospital, two of which are still in the ICU on ventilators. The other three are persons under investigation.

He also presented a sheet put out by the Texas Health and Human Services, which details a strategy for those who aren’t tested for releasing cases and contacts from home isolation and quarantine.

Ector County Judge Debi Hays said in a phone interview that the Emergency Operations Center has received over 15 calls for people who want to help volunteer as coronavirus spread investigators. She added that those who apply will go through training and that UTPB and Odessa College are both working with the EOC to get medical students in the area clinical hours.

She said volunteers would call those who have tested positive for the virus and investigate who they have been in contact with at home or at their jobs as well as anywhere they have visited. Then they would call those who may have been in contact with the positive case and ask the questions set up by the CDC. If anyone is interested in volunteering they can call 432-241-1560.

One of the new positive cases in Ector County is Dr. Ghassan Fanous, an Odessa obstetrician-gynecologist who has his own practice and has privileges at ORMC and MCH. Fanous’s test results were shared on his Facebook. In a phone interview, he said that he had contact with a friend Saturday who he had tested on Monday in the parking lot of his clinic.

The friend he tested reported no symptoms on Saturday, mild symptoms on Sunday and no symptoms on Monday

Fanous said that on Tuesday morning he delivered a baby at a hospital wearing full personal protective equipment before returning to the office at around 9 a.m. where he discovered his friend’s test results were positive.

He then said he swabbed himself, left the office, and quarantined. He received his own positive test results Wednesday night. When asked if he should have self-quarantined after test swabbing his friend, he said that, “If its somebody with mild symptoms then the answer really with somebody as mild as that, the answer is no.” When asked which hospital the baby was delivered at, he said that he didn’t know if he could give that information. Fanous is asymptomatic and continues to work from home.

Odessa, TX

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