Ector County health officials concerned as hospitalization rates rise

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"It has really exploded in the last couple of days, and it just seems this morning we walked in a landmine field."

ODESSA, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – Hospitalization rates are continuing to rise in Ector County, and health officials are growing more concerned as we head into the holidays.

As of October 22, there are 949 active cases in Ector County. This is up about 300 in just the last couple of weeks. Health officials in the county say more and more people are getting tested, and hospitalization rates are going up.

While it is difficult to pinpoint a specific source, they are worried it may have to do with people being less cautious. Health officials say more people are gathering in large groups again, forgoing face masks and not practicing social distancing.

“It has really exploded in the last couple of days, and it just seems this morning we walked in a landmine field,” said CEO of Medical Center Health System, Russell Tippin.

MCH is now scaling back visitations once again. 33 of its own employees are currently out from work to take precaution or recover from the virus. Tippin says current circumstances resemble the peak in June and July.

“The problem is that we’re full. I mean that is just what it comes down to. We’re full with people waiting to get in here. It is alive and well, and it is out there. It is everywhere.”

At Odessa Regional Medical Center, health officials are seeing a similar pattern. ORMC says staffing needed to accomodate more patiets is becoming more difficult to maintain.

“Diversion doesn’t mean we don’t take care of patients that walk in,” explained Dr. Rohith Saravanan. “Diversion means we tell people that are calling in to send their patients here, ‘Please hold off for a little bit, we’re not ready yet,’ If our beds are full, our beds are full.”

Saravanan warns residents that higher percentage rates of hospitalization could have more consequences then just public health. Currently, the Percent Positive of Total Operational Beds in Ector County is 13.76.

“Remember, the governor’s executive order says this number at 15 is when some of the shutdowns start happening again.”

This could mean shutting down elective surgeries, bars and restaurants, once again, directly impacting the economy.

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