UPDATE: Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare facilities in El Paso continued to divert some patients on Sunday as the hospital group dealt with an ongoing surge in coronavirus patients needing care.
A spokesperson provided the following update in a statement to ABC-7 late Sunday afternoon about the unfolding situation...
"Our current Covid census is placing a disproportionate stress on our staffed bed capacity, and especially our ICU capacity, at this time. We are taking deliberate measures to mitigate this impact and to ensure we have the physical bed and staffing capacity needed to effectively manage this ongoing patient surge. In some cases, we may transfer patients between facilities within our healthcare system or across the local healthcare systems in order to provide the most appropriate care. Even if our hospital reaches a capacity where we cannot accommodate additional demand, we will always make emergency care available."
ORIGINAL REPORT: EL PASO, Texas -- The Las Palmas Del Sol Emergency Center began diverting patients Saturday in what was the first publicly known instance of hospital diversions to occur in El Paso amid the recent rise in hospitalizations due to Covid-19.
While Las Palmas Del Sol is the first to divert, other El Paso area hospitals including University Medical Center and The Hospitals of Providence have also seen a surge in patients over the past few weeks which corresponds to El Paso Department of Public Health data reflecting record amounts of coronavirus illnesses requiring hospital care.
In a statement late Saturday night to ABC-7, a Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare spokesperson confirmed information provided by multiple sources about the situation.
"Due to a surge in patient volume and in an effort to better deploy clinical and emergency resources across Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare, on Saturday, July 11, healthcare services provided at the Las Palmas Del Sol Emergency Center on North Zaragoza Road in east El Paso were temporarily consolidated into other Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare hospitals... We may also transfer patients between facilities within our healthcare system or across the local healthcare systems in order to provide the most appropriate care."
As of Sunday morning, El Paso hospitals had 277 Covid-19 patients, with 91 of those in intensive care units. Both are record numbers so far during this pandemic, according to the health department's count.
"This is a surge that is affecting all hospitals," UMC spokesman Ryan Mielke told ABC-7 on Sunday morning. He added that while UMC had "not reached capacity" as yet, it had "a surge plan in place — and we are carrying it out to make sure we can care for the patients we have."
According to state of Texas data this weekend, El Paso only had 32 remaining ICU beds that weren't occupied.
El Paso is not alone in dealing with this surge as the state of Texas has surpassed 10,000 current hospitalizations. Medical facilities in other parts of the state, most notably Houston and the Rio Grande Valley, have also reported diverting patients elsewhere over the past week.