MMH investigating four possible COVID-19 cases

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MIDLAND, Tx. (KOSA) - Thursday night, Midland Memorial Hospital confirmed they’re treating the Permian Basin’s first case of COVID-19.

Now more may be on the way.

The hospital announced Friday there are four other patients inside right now who are “persons under investigation.”

That means they’re showing symptoms of the virus, but it’s too early to say if they have coronavirus as well.

In a press conference, Midland health leaders said those four came to the hospital within the last few days with respiratory issues but couldn’t add any other details about them.

However, MMH Chief Medical Officer Larry Wilson did share that the confirmed COVID-19 patient traveled to several states before he was diagnosed.

“He’s traveled,” Wilson said. “His profession requires that he travel but just within the U.S. He didn’t go into what’s considered the high-risk countries. But he’d been traveling throughout the United States.”

The coronavirus test for the first patient took about four days but Wilson said we should have answers on the pending cases much sooner.

“We’re happy to say we have an approved vendor and a working relationship there,” Wilson said. “We anticipate that we’ll get results back within 24-48 hours going forward, so we’ll be able to more quickly diagnose cases that are coming through.”

If more do come through MMH said they have a plan.

Wilson said they’ve isolated all five of these patients into a separate COVID ward to make sure the virus can’t spread any further.

“So, we’ve got all that worked out and we have a sort of plan of expanding use as we need to,” he said. “And if we get a point where we’re over resourced in the building we have a plan for expanding out of the walls of the hospital as well.”

However, Midland Memorial announced it’s accepting donations for medical supplies like masks and gloves.

Despite these new cases, Mayor Patrick Payton said the city has no plans to add new safety precautions beyond the governor’s orders.

“Unless for some reason we don’t act like the Midlanders that we really are and make these sacrifices on our own.”