Midland Health Department struggles to nail down locations exposed by coronavirus patients

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MIDLAND, Tx. (KOSA) - Midland saw two more confirmed COVID-19 patients Thursday bringing the county total to six.

Many want to know where those West Texans went and who they could have exposed before they tested positive.

However, the Midland Health Department explained getting those answers hasn’t been easy.

We learned Wednesday we know one patient caught the virus somewhere in Midland and Thursday we found out two of the six patients stayed home after they noticed symptoms.

“The adolescent and the male in his sixties,” Midland Health Department Health and Senior Services Manager Whitney Craig said. “The others are still going.”

So, now what?

If Midlanders don’t know where that patient and others have spent time in the days leading up to their diagnosis, they don’t know what to avoid.

CBS7 asked the Midland Health Department why this is still largely a mystery and they said that flow of information all comes down to what the patients choose to share.

“But it’s up to the patient to actually want to talk to us,” Craig said. “So, sometimes we get an answer and sometimes we don’t. But we are very persistent, very persistent. So, we had made contact with those individuals, it’s just finding that information from them.”

Craig said the patients don’t always want to give themselves away by publicly announcing where they work or go to school and, in some cases, department investigators are met with voicemails and wrong addresses.

Other times, she said investigators simply need time to let patients remember where they’ve been.

“It makes no bit of good if the information isn’t accurate that we gather from them,” she said.

As those investigations continue, Dr. Larry Wilson with Midland Memorial Hospital said the hospital has enough ventilators and supplies to keep caring for COVID patients for another three months unless Midland-Odessa sees a big spike in cases.

“And if you try to manage them all at one time between MCH, the Odessa hospitals, our hospital, resources in the area can be over utilized pretty quickly,” Wilson said.

MMH also said they had more than 60 tests come back negative.

Inside the hospital, there’s now seven patients who doctors think may have coronavirus, which is down from the 15 they were investigating on Wednesday.