Lubbock hospitals to put up mobile medical tents to deal with surge in hospitalizations

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LUBBOCK, Texas — On Tuesday, the City of Lubbock announced the arrival of mobile isolation tents to help with the increase in hospital capacity.

The tents will be built outside Covenant Health and UMC. Covenant Health is set to receive their tent on Tuesday and UMC will receive theirs on Thursday, according to a press release from the City of Lubbock.

Both hospital systems will continue to implement surge plans to expand capacity and “meet the current needs of the community and region.” The tents arrive two weeks after the City of El Paso received their own mobile medical tents.

Director of Marketing at UMC Health System, Eric Finley said the tents are being provided by the state.

“The tents are very similar to what were constructed in El Paso outside the Texas Tech University Health Sciences center there,” Finley said.

Finley said staffing will come from the state.

“It has been discussed for a week to ten days through our discussions with the City of Lubbock and the state of Texas,” Finley said.

Trauma Service Area B, which is comprised of Lubbock and 22 other counties, is reporting the 22nd day above the 15 percent threshold for hospitalizations set by the Governor’s Office.

“I don’t know how long this is going to continue and I’m not seeing our cases slow down now,” Katherine Wells, Director of Public Health for the City of Lubbock, said in an interview on Monday.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, as of Tuesday, the hospitalization rate for Trauma Service Area B is at 22 percent. There are 15 beds available in the ICU and 261 hospital available beds for the region.

“We’re very full,” Eric Finley said.

As of 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, they have 169 COVID-19 beds, with 133 patients already using them, meaning there are 36 beds available. Additionally, 248 staff are under quarantine. To help, UMC will receive one tent, big enough to house 14 patients close to the hospital.

“Nearing discharge or something like that, we’ll place in this tent. Nothing long-term, nothing ICU at this point,” Finley said.

UMC said they are grateful to receive the resources from the state.

“This allows us to provide better care to patients inside the hospital to make more room for COVID patients inside the hospital,” Finley said.

Covenant Health said their mobile tent will be set up near 22 Pl. and will be operational on Monday.

Finley said their tent will be operational depending when they get their resources, which could be close to Thanksgiving.

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