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Health Officials Identify Coronavirus Outbreak at Midland Nursing Home

By Mitch Borden

There are at least eight confirmed cases of the coronavirus tracing back to Midland Medical Lodge, a nursing home that now joins the ranks of similar facilities across the state and country as a place where COVID-19 has spread to staff and residents.

On Tuesday, the city of Midland announced seven confirmed cases of the coronavirus at the facility. By late Thursday another case had been identified. The cases originating from the nursing facility make up nearly 22% of the known cases in Midland County.

Four women with ties to Midland Medical Lodge are currently receiving treatment: a part-time nurse who last worked at Midland Medical Lodge on March 29 and three residents, one in her 70s, another in her 80s and one in her 90s.

Along with the hospitalized patients, local health authorities say four administrative workers have also tested positive for the coronavirus. The group is self-quarantining at home while they recover from COVID-19. 

The three hospitalized patients contracted the virus after being exposed to a known COVID-19 patient, according to officials. But it’s not apparent how the other four staff members contracted the disease. 

The nursing home says it’s taking precautions to mitigate the spread of the disease. Those staying at the facilities are being screened for symptoms every four hours and if anyone begins to exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, they will be tested. 

According to Midland Memorial’s CEO Russell Meyers, the hospital is now in daily contact with the staff at Midland Medical Lodge so they can be ready to respond if the coronavirus continues to spread through the facility. 

“Around the country, there have been perhaps the biggest areas of outbreak have been in nursing communities,” said Meyers. “It is one of our biggest concerns that a population of older and more vulnerable patients who could become more ill in large numbers.”

Meyers also said the nursing home has also already isolated a small number of patients who are exhibiting symptoms. 

The staff at the care facility has also been wearing masks and gloves while interacting with patients since the lodge’s part-time nurse tested positive. 
The nursing home has barred visitors since mid-March. 

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect a new confirmed case of coronavirus at Midland Medical Lodge announced late Thursday.

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