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A Texas hospital overwhelmed by the coronavirus may send some patients home to die

(Courtesy: CNN)
(Courtesy: CNN) (Copyright 2020 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas – Doctors at a Texas hospital along the US-Mexico border may decide to send coronavirus patients "home to die by their loved ones" due to limited resources, officials say.

Government and health officials in Starr County announced this week they are creating committees to review patients' cases at the Starr County Memorial Hospital in Rio Grande City.

At least 50% of the patients admitted in the hospital’s emergency room have tested positive for Covid-19, Dr. Jose Vasquez, the county’s health authority, said in a news conference earlier this week.

“The situation is desperate,” he said.

According to a report by CNN, this rural South Texas county began seeing an increase in positive cases about a month ago, Vasquez said, and the hospital admitted its first Covid-19 patient at that time.

The hospital quickly filled the eight beds in its Covid-19 unit, so it expanded to 17 and then 29 beds, Vasquez said. About 33 medical workers, including medical practitioners and lab technicians, were deployed by the state to assist the hospital.

“Unfortunately, Starr County Memorial Hospital has limited resources and our doctors are going to have to decide who receives treatment, and who is sent home to die by their loved ones,” Starr County Judge Eloy Vera wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday. “This is what we did not want our community to experience.”

A new shelter-at-home order began Friday in Starr County, nearly three months after Gov. Abbott ended the state's stay-at-home order, allowing businesses to reopen at limited capacity. Texas was one of the first states to reopen its economy.

The county's order is set to remain in place until August 10 and requires residents to shelter at home, including those who live in hotels, motels and shared rentals.

A mandatory curfew was also issued from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. for anyone over 18 years and from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. for residents 17 years and under unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

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