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Council talks ORMC and MCH collaboration - Odessa American: Local News

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Council talks ORMC and MCH collaboration

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Posted: Tuesday, October 20, 2020 3:06 pm

The Odessa City Council during a Tuesday work session discussed everything from Christmas decoration purchases to free COVID-19 testing.

“The City (City Manager Michael Marrero) reached out to Medical Center and Odessa Regional to see if we’d partner with them so they could expand their free testing for the citizens of Odessa and Ector County,” said Medical Center Hospital President and CEO Russell Tippin.

“It sounds like it’s going to be a very good collaboration between all three entities,” he said.

Council members spoke on using Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) money to fund those free tests as well as free flu shots for Odessans.

District 4 council member Tom Sprawls said in a phone interview that the CARES Act dollar amount is yet to be determined.

“I suspect it around at least $1 million,” he said.

Tippin said that $1 million would be a little on the low end for those expenses.

Spawls said that those tests would only start when council voted the item in until the end of the year.

“The hospital said that a covid test would run about $150 by the time they order the test and administer the program. They also will be giving, in conjunction with this, Flu shots at $50,” Sprawls said adding that there would be no cost to citizens.

Flu shots are included in the CARES Act money per the state, said Assistant City Manager Phillip Urrutia.

“We do have about $3.9 million left in CARES funds,” he said adding that $500,000 has been used for the small business grant program that is still accepting applications.

He said that $100,000 of those funds have been provided to Meals on Wheels to help feed seniors and $850,000 was given to ECISD to assist with tele-education and internet access for students.

The City also purchased equipment for internal work, he said like Personal Protective Equipment and telework equipment as well as equipment for Odessa Fire Rescue.

“We will continue to be in contact with the hospitals,” he said further saying that the city has had conversations with Tippin as well as Odessa Regional Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rohith Saravanan regarding the collaboration.

Urrutia also spoke on the CARES Act money amount to be allocated to hospitals.

“It’s ultimately gonna be a decision that council will make…”

Tippin said that tests and shots from MCH would probably be at the 42nd Street clinic and the clinic on the West side.

“We plan on having at least one, maybe, two events at least on the West side to help people who are struggling financially that… by doing it at a church or at a civic community center…maybe us just popping up a tent in the parking lot and just running like an all day Saturday type deal,” he said.

Council will make the decision to allocate CARES Act funding to hospitals for free COVID-19 testing at the next council meeting on October 27.

Council also discussed considering a resolution accepting and appropriating a $10,000 donation from Chevron to Odessa Fire Rescue as well as purchasing $135,000 worth of holiday decorations for Starbright Village.

Urrutia said that while Starbright Village was originally going to be a drive-thru type event, “We are going to open a walk-thru portion of the Christmas decoration however we are going to post signs encouraging social distancing and masks to be worn and we’re also going to widen the trail to allow individuals to space out more.”

All council members were reportedly at the work session except for District 5 council member Mari Willis.

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