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Central Texas Local News | kcentv.com

Gov. Abbott requests to use Fort Bliss Army hospital for non-COVID-19 patients in El Paso

The move would free up hospital beds in the El Paso area for COVID-19 patients as cases surge.

EL PASO, Texas — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is asking the federal government to use William Beaumont Army Medical Center on Fort Bliss to help expand hospital capacity needs as El Paso experiences a record-breaking surge in coronavirus cases.

The move would free up hospital beds in the El Paso area for COVID-19 patients.

According to a release, Abbott made the request in a phone call with Dr. Robert Kadlec, the assistant secretary of preparedness and response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The governor also detailed other steps Texas will take to contain the spread and expand hospital capacity in the region, the release said.

Dr. Natasha Kathuria, an ER physician at Austin Emergency Center, told KVUE on Friday that El Paso-area hospitals will soon need to send non-COVID-19 ICU patients to other Texas cities, including Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas.

More than 500 Texas medical workers are headed to the El Paso area to help assist with the surge in coronavirus hospitalizations.

RELATED: Local nurses sent to El Paso to help with surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations

A recent study released by the University of Texas shows the El Paso area could run out of hospital beds by Nov. 8.

"I think what we found in this report after looking at all of these individual regions is that, that new pandemic surge is already here. Many of these regions are in the mix of a big pandemic surge. The time to act isn't next week, the time to act is now," said UT researcher Dr. Spencer Fox.

The report also highlights a few other regions of concern.

"Amarillo, Lubbock, Wichita Falls, San Angelo, Galveston, are showing the most alarming trends," said Fox.

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