LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - We’re getting an inside look at the two medical tents now set up outside of University Medical Center. The tents were provided by the Texas Department Of Emergency Management and have been placed just outside of UMC’s McInturff Conference Center.
The City of Lubbock was set to receive two medical tents in total, one going to Covenant Health and the second going to UMC.
“There was a third that was going to be held back in reserve,” UMC Public Information Officer Eric Finley said. “Then, when the officials got here yesterday (Thursday) and started setting it up and realized there was plenty of room in this parking lot to put up the second one, we went ahead and did that. Probably better to be safe than sorry later.”
Each tent has 14 patient beds. According to UMC, the state said each hospital can use the medical tents however they see fit.
UMC says it will not have COVID-positive patients in the tents. This is a different strategy from Covenant, who will be using their tent to deliver antibody treatments to COVID patients.
“We plan to use this as more of a transition phase for patients who no longer need hospital care, but are maybe waiting to get placed in a nursing home, or rehab facility, or something along those lines,” Finley said. “That’ll allow us to free up those beds in the hospital, get them clean, and get them ready for more patients.”
Finley said this will help UMC with capacity issues.
“We’re not completely full. We’ve had days where we’ve been at max capacity, and we’ve had days where we’re not,” Finley said. “On average, we’re still a few beds shy of that. Until it gets to the point that we’re overflowing in the main building, we won’t use this for actual patient care.”
UMC has already received additional resources from the State of Texas, about a dozen or so state workers providing relief to the UMC staff.
“As of yesterday (Thursday), we still had about 230 staff members out on quarantine,” Finley said. “That does put a strain. Certainly you’re seeing staff members having to work double shifts or longer, stressed out. Multiple days in a row and it is difficult.”
UMC said state medical staff will operate the two medical tents.
“Those staff members could be here as soon as next week, maybe after Thanksgiving and then these tents will be up and running for patients,” Finley said.
Finley said UMC is grateful for all of the continued support from everyone in the community.