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Midland Medical Lodge Continues To See COVID-19 Spread As It Transfers Positive Patients To Local Hospital

By Mitch Borden

Several residents at Midland Medical Lodge, a nursing home in the Permian hub, have tested positive for the coronavirus in just under three weeks. What initially began as an outbreak among office workers has transformed the nursing facility into the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the Midland.

Since April 4, at least 17 employees and 35 residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Over 50% of all the cases in Midland have come out of the facility, with six residents making up the majority of the eight coronavirus deaths in Midland County.

Now, according to nursing home officials, all of the facility's confirmed and suspected coronavirus cases are being moved to Midland Memorial Hospital.

Administrators at the nursing home made the decision to move all of its coronavirus cases to Midland's single hospital over the weekend.

According to Midland Memorial’s CEO Russell Meyers, this influx of coronavirus patients will temporarily strain the hospital’s resources.

Meyers said, “We will get pretty close to the maximum capacity of our medical-surgical COVID unit." According to Meyers, if the nursing home patients do exceed the hospital's coronavirus ward, the hospital "will have to determine where the next [COVID] unit will be to properly isolate those patients.”

Meyers also said the hospital's staffing schedule may have to be reshuffled to deal with the new coronavirus patients. He believes the staffing shift shouldn’t interfere with the hospital’s effort to catch up on its backlog of elective procedures. Gov. Greg Abbott first halted the nonessential services back in March to reserve hospital resources in the state for coronavirus patients but has since said they could resume. Meyers said the hospital is evaluating whether elective surgeries will carry on, as patients from Midland Medical Lodge continue to arrive.

Over the weekend, it was confirmed two more nursing home patients died due to complications related to COVID-19 and six new cases were linked to the facility. It is believed that patients who previously tested negative for the coronavirus are now beginning to test positive, according to the hospital.

Keri Powell, the administrator of Midland Medical Lodge issued a press release over the weekend stating, "We have voluntarily activated the Texas Health and Human Services Rapid Response Team at the recommendation of our facility and corporate medical directors."

The rapid response team will assess the situation at Midland Medical Lodge and help its staff improve the level of care it is providing its residents. The team may also train staff and evaluate how the nursing home is functioning overall.

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