Lubbock hospitals prepared for possible surge - FOX34 Lubbock

Lubbock hospitals prepared for possible surge

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Across Texas, both cases and hospitalizations on the rise in unprecedented numbers, Lubbock hospitals have been preparing since March, in case of an increased need for bed spaces.

On Tuesday, Governor Abbott suspended elective surgeries in 4 more counties, to expand hospital capacity. The order includes Cameron, Hidalgo, Nueces and Webb counties, which encompass the Rio Grande Valley, McAllen, Corpus Christi, and Laredo in addition to the larger cities

"We don't want to get into that situation. We don't want to not be able to offer routine surgeries to the folks in West Texas," Dr. Craig Rhyne, Chief Medical Officer of Covenant Health, said. 

"Positive is that we're not first. So, if it happens here we'll be able to learn from what's going on in some of those bigger cities," UMC spokesperson Eric Finley said. 

The latest figures now show a record 52 hospitalizations in Lubbock County, 30 patients on the floor and 22 in the ICU.

"The vast majority of people we're seeing are simply going home and quarantining, you know, on their own and not needing hospitalization," Finley said. 

Lubbock's 2 major hospital systems, Covenant Health and UMC, are standing by in case of a possible surge. 

"We laid out aggressive surge plans when this first started. That plan has proven to be a rock solid plan," Dr. Rhyne said. 

For UMC, that surge plan could create up to 11% more of its usual capacity made available, for a total capacity of about 630 patient beds.

For Covenant Health, which already has some free beds dedicated to COVID-19 patients, has 96 more beds it could 

"We're no where near that capacity right now," Dr. Rhyne said. 

Elective surgeries are still on the schedule in Lubbock. 

Those procedures are crucial to keeping the hospital systems afloat, and making sure people are getting the medical attention they need, especially for non-COVID related issues.  

"It's actually safer to be in a hospital than it is to be at the grocery store or at the dry cleaner's," Dr. Rhyne said.

But just because there are beds available, that doesn't mean social distancing, masks and extra cleanings are no longer needed. 

Doctors advise keeping your guard up, especially ahead of the July 4th weekend. 

"We're trying very hard with the cooperation with the people in West Texas to continue doing the kind of things they know how to do," Dr. Rhyne said. 

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