MMH: Expect more positive cases; "community spread is here"

MIDLAND, Tx. (KOSA) -- More COVID-19 cases are expected in Midland and community spread of the coronavirus is here, but you have the power to stop it -- that's the latest from the Midland Memorial Hospital Chief Medical Officer.

Dr. Larry Wilson, the Chief Medical Officer of MMH, spoke at the Midland "Unified Command Team Media Briefing" on Monday evening.
"This infection is here, we know it's in the community, we know we have community spread," Dr. Wilson said first.

Above all, Dr. Wilson urged citizens to stay home and practice genuine social distancing.

"We can stop this disease in its tracks, if we stay separated from one another and stay spread out," Dr. Wilson said. "If we don't do it for ourselves, somebody is going to do it for us."

MMH announced its first confirmed positive case of COVID-19 on Thursday, March 19th.

As of Monday evening, Dr. Wilson said "about 14 or 15 patients" are hospitalized at MMH, under investigation for possibly being infected with the coronavirus. Dr. Wilson said those patients are being isolated.

"We've established what we're calling the 'COVID Ward' on two of the floors of the hospital -- one for critical care patients, one for medically sick patients," Dr. Wilson explained.

As far as the age range of those patients, Dr. Wilson reported the majority are 50 years or older, but not all are.

"There's a handful -- 3 or 4 -- who are under 50, but they are all adults." Dr. Wilson said.

Of those 14 or 15 patients "about 10 or so" are at "pretty high risk" of testing positive for COVID-19, Dr. Wilson said. He added four of those patients are on ventilators.

Dr. Wilson said the hospital is hamstrung by test result lag times at outside labs. He said MMH has a number of test results pending but didn't provide an exact number. He said he's hoping the results will be returned Tuesday.

To cut down on the lengthy turnaround time, Dr. Wilson said the MMH Pathology Department is working on a local test.

"Hopefully within the next week or two we will have a test in Midland that we can do here and get results back much more quickly," Dr. Wilson said.