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Local COVID-19 hospitalization data reported

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Roswell’s two primary hospitals had 195 beds used by confirmed COVID-19 adult patients from Nov. 27 to Dec. 3, according to information published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The federal agency announced Monday that it would begin making weekly reports of COVID hospitalizations. It is posting data files on one of its websites, www.healthdata.gov.

The current data file lists preliminary COVID-19 hospitalization reports that begin with the data collection week of July 31 and continue to the collection week of Nov. 27. Data is reported from Friday to Thursday and will be updated weekly.

The data files include most hospitals in the United States that had been registered with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services by June 2020. Not listed are psychiatric, rehabilitation, Indian Health Service, Veterans Affairs, Defense Health Agency and religious non-medical facilities.

According to the HHS report, for the seven-day period of Nov. 27 to Dec. 3, Eastern New Mexico Medical Center had an average of 22.9 beds used by COVID-19 patients each day, while Lovelace had five.

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The sum of COVID-19 bed usage during those seven days was 160 for ENMMC and 35 for Lovelace. ENMMC had 61 Intensive Care Unit beds used by confirmed COVID-19 patients during the week, with Lovelace using 15 ICU beds for COVID-19 patients over seven days.

According to information on their websites, ENMMC has 162 beds in total, while Lovelace Regional has 27 licensed beds. Representatives have said in the past that they are able to send patients to other hospitals if needed.

“Through the month of November, we have seen an increase in the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19, as have other hospitals and communities across the state,” said Brooke Linthicum, ENMMC marketing director. “ENMMC continues to work closely with all regional hospitals in SENM (southeastern New Mexico) and local resources on planning should additional capacity become necessary.”

Lovelace spokeswoman Whitney Marquez also confirmed earlier reports that the area’s rehabilitative hospital or non-medical facilities in the city could be transitioned for patient care as well if dire situations require more hospital rooms and if enough medical staffing is available.

A note on the HHS website cautions people not to use the posted information to avoid going to the hospital if needed.

“Patients should not be discouraged from seeking hospital care based on their interpretation of the data,” the site states. “Hospitals have protocols in place to keep patients safe from exposure and to ensure all patients are prioritized for care.”

Linthicum said ENMMC encourages the public to follow the guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New Mexico Department of Health by using face coverings, washing hands frequently, staying home if not feeling well, and practicing social distancing.

“By doing so,” she said, “you are supporting your medical community, friends and neighbors to remain healthy and decrease the prevalence of COVID.”

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.