Coronavirus in West Texas

Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tri-county residents are wearing facemasks to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. (Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio)

The Big Bend

On Sunday, June 28, the Big Bend saw its first COVID-19 death. The patient was a 70-year-old man who had several pre-existing conditions. He died at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, where other Big Bend residents have been transferred. The Odessa hospital announced on Wednesday, July 1 that it would temporarily halt transfers from surrounding areas as the facility cares for a growing number of COVID-19 patients.

Big Bend National Park officials announced the park would close on Thursday, July 2  as a park resident has tested positive for the coronavirus. It is unclear how long BBNP will be closed. A draft of the park’s reopening plan outlined officials could close the park again if cases in Brewster County or Texas increase.

On June 29, Brewster and Presidio Counties issued mask orders mandating all employees and patrons of businesses to wear facial coverings while inside. In public spaces, individuals 10 years or older are now required to wear a facial covering when it is difficult to maintain a distance of at least six feet from other people. The orders are in effect through Wednesday, July 15, unless extended by the county judge.

As of Thursday, July 2, in Brewster County, there is a total of 140 COVID-19 cases, with 46 of those patients recovered; Presidio County has 19 cases; and Jeff Davis County has 4 cases.

Coronavirus Testing Dates:

Monday, July 6 : 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

  • Marathon: Marathon Community Center (located by the fire station at 109 North East 2nd Street, between Ave D & Ave E)

Residents can make appointments online or by calling 512-883-2400.

What you need to know:


The Permian Basin

Beginning on June 30th, the City of Odessa is sending a mobile coronavirus testing unit to parks around the community. No appointment is needed for the June 30th testing date, other requirements TBA for future testing. The first 200 people to arrive at each location will get a test. Photo ID and facial covering are required.

Coronavirus Testing Dates:

  • Thursday, July 2nd, Woodson Park 11 am – 1 pm
  • Tuesday, July 14th, Salinas Park 9 am – 11 am
  • Thursday, July 16th, UTPB park 9 am – 11 am
  • Tuesday, July 21st, Lawndale Park 9 am – 11 am
  • Thursday, July 23rd, Floyd Gwinn Park 11 am – 1 pm
  • Tuesday, July 28th, Slaton Park 9 am – 11 am
  • Thursday, July 30th, Central Park 9 am – 11 am

What you need to know:

In Midland County, as of 10:56 am on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, there are 651 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 14 residents have died due to complications with COVID-19. The majority of the deaths related to the coronavirus that have occurred in Midland County were a result of an outbreak at the Midland Medical Lodge, a local nursing home, that began in early April.

Individuals can call 1-855-686-8773, or 68Nurse, to see if they qualify for a COVID-19 test. Midland Memorial Hospital runs the hotline and is operating a drive through the testing site at its West Campus: 

Midland Memorial Hospital West Campus
4214 Andrews Hwy,
Midland, TX 79703

In Ector County, as of 10:56 am on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, there are 558 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 7 residents have died due to complications with COVID-19.

The community’s two hospitals have been operating testing sites across Odessa for the past few months. Medical Center Hospital is doing the majority of the testing at its urgent care centers. Most patients are being seen at the hospital’s Center For Primary Care located at:

MCH Center For Primary Care
1940 E 42nd St.
Odessa, TX 79762

To get screened for the coronavirus and to set up an appointment call MCH’s dedicated COVID-19 hotline. That number is 432-640-2747, operators are standing by Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Resources for West Texans

Marfa Public Radio is compiling resources for residents of the area. If you are offering services and would like to be included on this list, please email diana@marfapublicradio.org.

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