MIDLAND, Texas — A total of 36 people have died at Midland Memorial Hospital from COVID-19 since the beginning of September. That's the second-highest number of COVID-19 deaths in a month there, the last being in November of 2020.
Medical Center Hospital in Odessa has seen a total of 49 COVID-19 related deaths since the start of the month.
Even when people do get hospitalized with COVID-19, and later released, the battle isn't necessarily over.
"One of the things that I don't think gets talked about enough is what happens when you survive critical illness from COVID-19," said Dr. Orlando Garner of Midland Health.
Garner, who worked at a clinic for people who survived COVID-19 and ICU hospitalizations, said the long-term effects can be life-changing.
"A lot of them developed mild cases of dementia, you could call it that, possibly linked to their hospital stay, and that's only talking about what happened to them neurologically," said Garner.
Some consequences of the virus impacted their jobs and those around them.
"Many of them required to be in wheelchairs could not go back to work," said Garner. "Their loved ones had to take up other jobs because they became further deep in debt because they couldn't pay their hospital bills, they couldn't work anymore."
Mental health also proved to be a long-lasting issue.
"Many of these patients had issues with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder," said Garner.
Garner said the vaccine can at least be a roadblock from these negative effects.
"One of the ways we can stop this is by getting the vaccine, which is free, which is safe," said Garner.
Garner emphasized the many ways COVID-19 can cause issues for those who get it.
"The virus doesn't just destroy your body, but the way you make a living," Garner said. "It destroys the way your family runs, it destroys everything that you hold dear to yourselves."