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All El Paso hospitals now setting up tents to deal with patient influx from virus surge

A hospital tent goes up outside Del Sol Medical Center.

EL PASO, Texas -- The University Medical Center of El Paso recently started erecting heated isolation tents to treat coronavirus patients amid a surge in Covid-19 hospitalizations, and now other medical facilities are following with similar tent plans to manage the influx of those needing medical care.

UMC set up what was its fourth tent on Wednesday; the latest one can hold up to 21 patients, allowing for triage before they go into the emergency room.

"There are a lot of moving parts in any hospital, in particular today, so it's a matter of how we are managing patients in the emergency room, how we are handling them on Covid floors and we also have regular patients who need care that are non-Covid, so it is multifactorial," explained Dr. Joel Hendryx, UMC's chief medical officer.

The Hospitals of Providence began putting up their first set of tents on Wednesday; officials said all four of their hospital campuses received state-issued tents.

"Our hospitals continue to implement our surge plans to expand capacity to help manage the influx of Covid-19 patients to meet the rapidly expanding needs of El Paso," a hospital spokesperson said. "Medical tents will help decompress the Emergency Departments."

Del Sol Medical Center was also putting up a "tent structure" Wednesday to expand hospital capacity. Officials said it will be used to triage up to 14 patients - including those with critical care needs who require inpatient admission, until there is open space inside the hospital.

"The ‘tent’ is an advanced deployable medical care site that is a fully enclosed, HVAC-controlled, fixed structure," Del Sol said in a statement.

The tent deployments came on the same day that Texas emergency management officials began the process of converting a portion of El Paso's downtown convention center into makeshift hospital space.

El Paso health officials on Wednesday reported setting new records with more than 900 virus hospitalizations and over 200 patients in ICUs due to the virus.

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.

Shelby Montgomery

Las Cruces native Shelby Montgomery is an ABC-7 reporter who also co-anchors Good Morning El Paso weekends.




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