Governor’s office announces additional medical personnel, equipment for South Plains

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas — Governor Abbott announced Friday that the state would be sending additional PPE, medical personnel, and medical supplies to the Lubbock area to support the Hub City’s COVID-19 response.

“It’s a little bit like watching the cavalry come over the hill in the old western movies. We are incredibly grateful,” Chief Medical Officer for Covenant Health, Dr. Craig Rhyne.

This announcement comes after COVID-19 cases have surged in the Hub City this past week, spiking at over 300 cases Wednesday, the highest number of new cases the city has ever seen. At Covenant hospital, they say the relief these supplies will bring is a huge blessing.

“The first request that we made that was for additional personnel was for nursing help, and we received notice this morning that we will be receiving 18 nurses to help us with the patient overload we are experiencing,” said Dr. Rhyne.

Abbott announced the state would be sending these additional supplies to Lubbock and Amarillo hospitals to help fight COVID-19. Covenant soon to receive the nurses they requested, while other hospitals are gearing up to receive the support they require.

“Of course, 18 sounds like a drop in the bucket, but 18 will be a treasure,” said Dr. Rhyne.
Lubbock’s current hospital positivity rate sits at 14 percent, if Lubbock reaches 15 percent for seven days straight, it could mean another shutdown.

“It doesn’t mean that we are out of control. It doesn’t mean we do not have a handle on this virus and controlling it and working with it. It just means that is a line the governor has chosen,” said Lubbock County Judge Curtis Parrish.

The state will be sending 100 IV pumps, 56 ventilators, 25 oxygen concentrators, and 171 medical personnel to the areas, with 100 more nurses expected to be dispatched by Sunday.

“We are going to see this pandemic increase until people take it seriously,” said Dr. Rhyne. “We are dangerously close to having so many patients in the hospital that the Governor will have no choice but to close down business and reduce restaurant capacity, the kind of things that we do not want to have happen again.”

City officials said if we use the tools we already have, we can help stop the spread as well.

“It’s one thing to say I have a right to do what I want to do. It’s another thing to know that you have a responsibility to do what is correct,” said Dr. Rhyne.

These supplies were requested by Covenant and other hospitals in regions, but UMC has not requested any of these supplies and will not be receiving them from the state. The Governor’s office hopes these supplies will help contain the spread of the virus in the Panhandle and South Plains regions.

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