The El Paso Convention and Performing Art Center is now a health care facility, converted this week to help provide additional space for medical staff treating the growing number of COVID-19 patients in the region.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management tweeted photos of the facility Wednesday afternoon, saying they were supplying local hospitals with auxiliary medical units, staffing and equipment as part of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's surge response amid a rise in cases and hospitalizations in the area.
Earlier Wednesday, the Texas Emergency Medical Task Force tweeted a photo of their Mobile Medical Units now in place in El Paso.
The state's support is the result of Abbott calling for a surge response by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to send additional medical personnel and resources to El Paso to assist with the COVID-19 response effort.
Since Oct. 1, hospitalizations in El Paso due to COVID-19 have grown from 166 patients to 877 through Monday (see chart below), the most recent date for which data is available from the DSHS. El Paso's previous peak was July 24 when there were 322 patients.
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Stephen Love, president of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, told NBC 5 Wednesday two patients from El Paso were relocated to North Texas on Tuesday. Love didn't say which hospitals the patients were sent to or if they were COVID-19 patients.
Since the governor's request, the DSHS has deployed more than 460 personnel to the area and the Texas Emergency Medical Task Force sent an ambulance bus, medical incident support team, five ambulances, and a mobile medical unit to assist.
The TEMTF tweeted a photo of their MMUs Wednesday morning saying they were on Day 4 of their operation outside an El Paso-area hospital.
DSHS also deployed 48 patient monitors, 25 medical beds, and 30 oxygen concentrators to support area hospitals.
Last week the governor's office said "the TDEM has provided millions of pieces of PPE to support El Paso’s COVID-19 response. Currently, El Paso’s emergency response warehouses are stocked with over 4.8 million masks, over 629,000 gowns and coveralls, over 400,000 gloves, over 38,000 face shields, and additional PPE that has been provided by TDEM."
"The medical personnel and supplies we are deploying to El Paso build upon the resources the state previously sent to the community and will provide much-needed support to area hospitals and first responders," said Abbott. "The State of Texas will continue to work with local officials to protect public health and help the El Paso community mitigate the spread of COVID-19."
Through Tuesday, the state health department has confirmed 874,367 cases of COVID-19 in the state -- the second-most out of all U.S. states. Other sources, including NBC News, say Texas has already overtaken California as the state with the most cases of the virus. The state has also confirmed 17,595 fatalities related to the virus since March.