City of Amarillo updates community on new practices related to COVID-19

KFDA Video: COA presser 4-1

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The City of Amarillo continues to emphasize social distancing in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus in our area.

Grocery stores are remaining open, they are just asking that only one family member shops for the household at once, as well as to be mindful of social distancing within the store, especially at the check out line.

It has not been made official, as it is up to each store owner, but Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson mentioned some stores may offer special store hours for health care workers.

“While we discussed using a number limit, some cities are saying no more than 100 people in any store at any time. We just felt like that was unfair to our local stores, they are just such different sizes. It’s about the spacing inside the store, and we are asking them to help us operationally to create that space,” said Mayor Nelson.

As of this morning, we have at least two patients receiving intensive care. Once ICU patient at Northwest Texas Hospital is an eldery patient who is taking longer to recover.

Chief Medical Officer at Northwest Texas Hospital Dr. Brian Weis said only 10 to 15 percent of patients will get critically ill, while most will just shake it off.

“Patients that we have had to use our ventilator for, all of them have at least been a week on the vent before we can effectively wean them off of it” said Dr. Weis.

Doctors want to stress that patients are most contagious 24 to 48 hours before their first symptom. They also mentioned a symptom most COVID-19 patients are experiencing.

“This virus is presenting with a myriad of symptoms. Thankfully most of them are pretty minor. The one thing that has been somewhat consistent among people, is most of them complain of a significant shortness of breath as a part of their presentation, and second, a lot of them do present with diarrhea. Gastrointestinal symptoms do appear to be more predominant than we originally thought,” said Dr. Weis.

Our number of positive COVID-19 patients has risen, as we expected, since we are performing more COVID-19 tests.

The drive through testing site is set to be open at least until early next week. You can call the Amarillo Public Health Department to start your screening process.

Tests at the drive through are free compared to receiving tests from your family doctor or through the hospitals.

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