COVID-19 patients from El Paso, other areas of Texas, treated in Brazos Valley

Baylor Scott & White Health has received patients from areas of the state where coronavirus cases are surging, KBTX has confirmed.
El Paso currently has 35,915 active cases.
El Paso currently has 35,915 active cases.(KBTX)
Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 4:30 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - The border city of El Paso, Texas has been devastated by COVID-19 and now patients from that area are being treated in other parts of the state, including the Brazos Valley.

On Monday, the Brazos County Health District confirmed two area hospitals were among the facilities offering assistance.

“The Regional Medical Operation Center has been coordinating with the State Coordination Center on the movement of patients out of regions of Texas experiencing a surge. Both Baylor S&W and CHI have received patients from El Paso and other areas of Texas,” said Support Services Manager Sara Mendez.

However, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for CHI St. Joseph Health Heather Bush, says no patients from outside the region have been treated at their facilities.

It’s unclear when or how many patients from hard-hit El Paso have been sent nearly 700 miles east to the Brazos Valley, or when they arrived, but their admission here locally doesn’t appear to have any significant impact on local hospital occupancy rates.

On Monday, 76 percent of hospital beds in the county were occupied, according to health district reports. 79 percent of ICU beds were reported as full on the same day.

Those are numbers that have been consistent dating back to early summer when the health district began releasing that data publicly in its daily COVID-19 reports.

  • One month ago bed occupancy was 68% and ICU occupancy was 42%
  • Two months ago bed occupancy was 71% and ICU occupancy was 75%.
  • On Thursday, July 2, bed occupancy was 76% and ICU bed occupancy was 67%

Mendez said any other details about the patients coming in from other counties would have to come directly from those facilities providing treatments. KBTX has reached out to both hospitals for additional details.

Baylor Scott & White Health responded with this statement:

At this time, Baylor Scott & White is evaluating and accepting requests for COVID-19 patient transfers from healthcare systems outside our region on a case-by-case basis. Our healthcare system continues to carefully monitor hospitalization trends and work directly with community leaders to ensure that we balance the needs of Central Texas patients, while being good neighbors to surrounding areas. We are working collaboratively to help ensure all individuals in Texas have access to the care they need.

In an email, Bush said that CHI St. Joseph continues to evaluate transfer requests as they are received and balance that with the needs of our community in mind.

In El Paso, the Texas Army National Guard has a 36-person team on the ground to assist with mortuary services in the area.

According to CBS affiliate, KDBC-TV in El Paso, the city now has close to 36,000 active cases of the virus. More than 1,000 people are hospitalized with the virus, including 321 who are in the intensive care unit and 215 are on ventilators.

862 have died there after contracting COVID-19.

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