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Midland Waits For Test Results As More Patients Are Being Monitored For COVID-19

By Mitch Borden

As the coronavirus spreads through Midland, residents aren’t getting tested fast enough, according to local health officials. So far, roughly 150 tests have been administered but Midland Memorial Hospital has only received the results of seven—one of which showed a positive result for COVID-19.

In response, the hospital has set up a coronavirus ward, where they're currently treating the 60-year-old patient who tested positive for the virus along with 15 others who are monitored.

As of Tuesday morning, two of the patients in Midland Memorial's coronavirus ward are on ventilators.

Dr. Larry Wilson, Midland Memorial's Chief Medical Officier, says he's certain there are more cases of the disease in the city.

"This infection is here," Wilson said at a press conference with local leaders. "We know it’s in the community. We know we have community spread."

The problem local health officials are facing when trying to combat the disease isn't collecting tests, Wilson said, it's getting samples from patients analyzed because private and public health labs are backed up.

"We are hamstrung by the lack of test results coming back quickly," Wilson said.

Midland Memorial is expecting to receive the results for many of their outstanding tests later this week. Even without those results, Dr. Wilson believes many of the patients sequestered in his hospital will test positive for the coronavirus.

"I can tell you with some degree of certainty that a few of these are going to be positive. So we have more disease that is causing some significantly sick people already hospitalized."

According to Dr. Wilson, there may be a COVID-19 test available in the coming weeks that will allow Midland Memorial to screen on a larger scale and get results back faster.

But at this point, Wilson doesn’t know specifically when that test will be an option in Midland.

Mitch Borden is Permian Basin Reporter & Producer at Marfa Public Radio.