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Judge says Orange County would set up 'mobile medical lab' if dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases exhausts resources

Orange County Judge John Gothia says it isn't likely the old Baptist Hospital could be used in the event of a significant increase in cases

BEAUMONT, Texas — 12News is continuing to press leaders in an effort to find out how prepared local hospitals are if COVID-19 cases continue to climb. On Tuesday,  the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals spoke to 12News. 

They said some of the projections for our region 'look scary' in terms of ICU beds and ventilators. 

On Wednesday, Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick and Orange County Judge John Gothia are responding. 

Branick acknowledged the spike in local cases, and the local screening hotline is fielding a lot of calls. 

We've reported there are 66 ICU beds in Jefferson County, but we don't know how many total hospital beds are available. 

Judge Jeff Branick says the best way to slow the spread is through social distancing.  

He says leaders are "bringing on additional nursed and contractors, and are keeping in touch with the hospitals and assisting with and supply chain issues."

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TORCH also expressed concern about Orange County not having its own hospital. They believe a county that large should having its own hospital. 

Many 12News viewers have been asking if the old Baptist Hospital is an option. 

Judge Gothia says it's not likely due to medical staffing. 

The six-county hotline is still looking for additional nurses to help pick up calls and staff the phones. 

Gothia says if the number of cases increases significantly, Orange County would implement a 'mobile medical lab.'

He feels confident the facilities in Jefferson County can manage the number of patients. 

Judge Gothia also says Orange County is working on getting a drive-thru testing lab. 

Details are limited right now, but that's the biggest need for the county according to Gothia. 

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