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Midland Sees The First COVID-19 Related Death As The Virus Spreads Across The Permian Basin

By Mitch Borden

The first Midlander to be diagnosed with COVID-19 died on March 25 at Midland Memorial Hospital—only five days after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The patient was a man in his sixties with no underlying health conditions, according to hospital officials. The news of his death was shortly followed by the announcement of two more coronavirus cases in Midland.

Local health officials believe the sixty-year-old patient contracted the virus while traveling in the U.S., but would not give any more details concerning the man's job and identity out of respect for his family.

"It’s pretty sobering to see a person die from a respiratory infection like this, who was an otherwise healthy human being until he got a cold," said Dr. Larry Wilson, the Chief Medical Officer at Midland Memorial.

Wilson along with other local leaders continued their call for the public to heed the warnings about the danger of the coronavirus. He said individuals can save lives by keeping their distance from one another and preventing the spread of the virus.

He understands this can be hard to comprehend the magnitude of the situation since there hasn’t been a pandemic in America like this since the 1918 Spanish Influenza outbreak.

"People just don’t understand how dangerous this is. A simple thing as a handshake can spread disease," Wilson explained.

Two additional cases of COVID-19 in Midland have been confirmed — one patient is an adolescent girl and the other a man in his sixties. Both are reportedly recovering in their homes while self quarantining. Currently, there have been three cases identified in Midland, but only nine out of the 169 known tests that are have been collected in the city have been run by laboratories conducting the assessments.

Three patients at Midland Memorial are under observation for the virus and currently on ventilators. There are also 12 others in the hospital who have been sequestered for displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

Dr. Wilson said the age of these isolated patients has ranged from 28 years old to individuals in their 80s.

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