WESLACO, Texas – Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco could do more to help the battle against COVID-19 but it needs additional nurses.

This is the message from Congressmen Filemon Vela and Vicente Gonzalez, and state Rep. Armando Martinez. All three lawmakers represent the Mid-Valley area. 

Knapp Medical Center is a not-for-profit, acute care hospital serving the Mid-Valley region. It was established in 1962.

In a July 14, 2020, letter to Gov. Greg Abbott, Vela, Gonzalez and Martinez say an additional 90 nurses “are all that needed” to bring Knapp to full capacity. 

“We write to you today on behalf of the residents of the Rio Grande Valley, especially those in the Mid-Valley area, with an urgent request,” the three lawmakers wrote.

The lawmakers say state support through supplies, equipment and personnel are immensely important during this time. 

“Although, our community appreciates the support you have sent to the Rio Grande Valley as we deal with COVID cases in our area there is a need for more personnel within the Mid Valley,” Vela, Gonzalez and Martinez wrote, in their letter to Abbott.

“Surrounding hospitals in the Rio Grande Valley have received over 200 nurses and Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco has only received 29.”

According to the lawmakers, Knapp Medical Center currently has 223 beds available. However, only approximately 100 beds are being used. 

“Knapp is considered ‘at capacity’ because of the lack of nurses, not because of the lack of beds,” Vela, Gonzalez, and Martinez wrote. “An additional 90 nurses are 

all that is necessary to bring Knapp Hospital to full capacity, if the need arises. We must consider the utilization of available resources prior to alternative sites.”

The lawmakers point out to Gov. Abbott that the Valley is grappling with record setting COVID cases. 

“Hospitals and emergency rooms have seen an increase in patients. Emergency medical services also have become inundated with wait times at hospitals causing ambulance service to wait for hours prior to offloading patients. This does not allow ambulances to return to service to provide much need prehospital response to trauma and medical calls within the community,” Vela, Gonzalez and Martinez write.

“Your immediate assistance is requested,” the lawmakers say, in their efforts to bring more nurses to the Mid-Valley. “Together, we can help to prevent the loss of additional lives.”

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