Culberson Hospital ready to vaccinate for the coronavirus, but when?

By Becky Brewster

The Culberson County Hospital District met in Regular Session last evening, December 9, 2020.

Judy Blazek, Project Manager, updated the Board on the parking lot/façade improvements project, noting that progress continues. Blazek noted that the colder temperatures have caused the workers to start later in the day for the concrete and mortar applications. The vertical steel has been installed and inspected by the structural engineer, with the canopies to be erected the week of December 14. Electrical work has started; however, the Board tabled the approval of a change order for additional electrical components pending a more complete estimate from the subcontractor detailing all the costs entailed for the installation of two parking lot poles and lights, wiring and hardware for façade wall signage, can lighting under the walkway canopies and all trenching, conduit, wiring, labor and travel expense required to complete the additional work.

Hospital Administrator Rick Gray briefed the Board on the Culberson Hospital’s response to COVID-19, noting that cases are stabilizing in Van Horn with 52 active cases down from a high of 80+ cases. He reported that the number of active cases in El Paso are down as well although hospitalizations are up. Gray reported that the hospital is good on PPE or personal protective equipment, and is asking hospital leaders to set an example encouraging them to wear masks. Gray stated that the new coronavirus vaccine is a “hot topic” noting that Texas is one of the first states to receive the vaccine. However, no rural hospital has been allocated any vaccine doses in the first allocation. Culberson Hospital is registered to give the vaccinations once the vaccine is received. Although Culberson County has been one of the counties with the highest per capita positive rate, all vaccines are going to the metropolitan areas. Gray noted that Odessa will not even be included in the first round.

Gray also discussed confusion regarding quarantine protocols, noting that although the CDC has lowered the recommended time for quarantine, the State of Texas has not adopted this guideline. Until this happens, the quarantine time after direct exposure is still 14 days in Texas.

In other business, the Culberson County Hospital District:

Approved the consent agenda.

Approved a tax sale bid as presented by the Culberson County Appraisal District.