Alternate care site established in El Paso to help cope with surge of new COVID-19 cases


EL PASO, Texas (KXAN) — An alternate care site will be established in El Paso to expand hospital capacity following a surge in COVID-19 cases in the area.

In an announcement Sunday morning, Gov. Greg Abbott said the facility will provide extra hospital beds, medical equipment and personnel to assist with the response to COVID-19.

It will be located at the El Paso Convention and Performing Arts Center with a capacity of 50 beds. That capacity can be expanded to 100 beds if necessary.

“The alternate care site and auxiliary medical units will reduce the strain on hospitals in El Paso as we contain the spread of COVID-19 in the region,” Gov. Abbott said.

The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) and the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) have also deployed auxiliary medical units to provide onsite surge capacity for El Paso hospitals.

“We continue to work closely with local officials in El Paso and provide resources to reduce hospitalizations, mitigate the spread, and keep the people of El Paso safe.” 

Along with those state resources being surged to El Paso, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will also deploy two 35-person Disaster Medical Assistance Teams and a Trauma Critical Care Team. Regional Emergency Coordinators from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response will also be deployed to the city and to the Texas State Operations Center to help coordinate federal assets.

The announcements of pouring resources into El Paso come as cases of the virus spike in the region, overwhelming hospital systems. The City of El Paso reports 11,321 active cases as of Sunday morning. In total, 575 people have died from COVID-19 in El Paso.

Earlier this week, DSHS said it would deploy more than 460 medical personnel to the area.

Since Oct. 10, 40 support personnel from St. David’s HealthCare in Central Texas, including nurses, have been sent to El Paso to help in the fight against COVID-19.

According to a spokesperson for St. David’s HealthCare, those workers were sent to its affiliate hospital, Las Palmas Del Sol HealthCare, to assist with the recent surge in cases for the region.

“Through their affiliation with HCA Healthcare, St. David’s HealthCare’s national partner, the healthcare systems are able to combine resources to strengthen their capabilities and improve care,” a spokesperson said.

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