The West Texas city of El Paso, which is seeing facilities hard-pressed to handle the fast-rising number of coronavirus cases, is preparing to open its civic center for additional beds and add a fourth mobile morgue.
University Medical Center of El Paso’s spokesman Ryan Mielke told CNN their hospital has 222 patients with Covid-19.
“We set a record yesterday and beat it today,” Mielke said. “It is just a new peak every day.”
About 978 patients with the virus are hospitalized in El Paso — a city of 680,000 residents — and 273 of those are in intensive care, according to the city’s coronavirus dashboard.
The city is about to use its civic center for Covid-19 patients and will have 50 beds, Mielke said.
The hospital has already expanded its Covid-19 capacity by partnering with El Paso Children’s Hospital, which has dedicated a floor to non-Covid-19 overflow patients, and it has a mobile isolation tent outside the hospital accepting patients.
A fourth mobile morgue is on its way to the hard-hit city, which has reported 605 deaths.
Asked about the surging cases and the link to the need for a fourth mobile morgue, Mielke said, “Simple math will tell you a certain percentage of those will have negative outcomes.”
‘We are breaking records all over the place’
No one wants another shutdown. But Americans who don’t wear masks and ignore social distancing are fueling that possibility, doctors say.
“We are breaking records all over the place here. The rate of acceleration of this virus is just increasing,” emergency medicine physician Dr. Leana Wen said.
“We’re already seeing our hospitals at breaking point in some parts of the country. And that means it doesn’t just affect patients with coronavirus. It also means that elective surgeries are being put off for things like hip replacements, for cancer surgery or heart surgery in some cases,” she said.
“When we get to breaking point here, we might have no other choice but to implement these measures that no one wants, like shutdowns. And that’s why we all have to take action right now with targeted measures, like wearing masks, like restricting indoor gatherings — things we can do now to prevent that really horrible outcome because cases are raging out of control across the US.”
Nationwide, the pandemic has gone from bad to worse.
The US just set a record for the highest seven-day average of daily new cases: 81,336 as of Sunday. That’s the first time the number has ever topped 80,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
And once again, increases in new cases are far exceeding new