Amarillo emergency room visits increasing amid COVID-19 pandemic

Amarillo emergency room visits increasing amid COVID-19 pandemic

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Since quarantine, emergency room doctors say the number of patients seeking emergent medical help has increased, but not because they have contracted COVID-19.

“In the emergency department, we are actually seeing more of an increase in muscular, skeletal injuries such as broken bones and dislocations and sprains and strains,” said Dr. Frederick D. Poage, medical director of Northwest Texas Hospital’s free standing emergency departments.

Dr. Poage, along with others, say with children being out of school and trying to find ways to keep entertained, pediatric injuries are increasing.

Not only is one emergency room seeing an increase in ER visits from children, but the pandemic has cause a surged of visits from patients of all ages.

“For pediatric group of patients, we are seeing more of lacerations, falls and injuries. For adult group, we are seeing a lot of intoxication, alcohol intoxications, overdosing and substance abuse. For the elderly population we are seeing a lot of falls,” said Dr. Aiman Shokr with Exceptional Emergency Center.

Dr. Shokr says this uneasy time in life is impacting adults which is why he believes he is seeing more substance abuse.

He also says, for his free standing emergency room, he is seeing more elderly patients come in than any other age group.

“They don’t have their relatives to take care of them, so they have to take care of themselves, and they can’t go anywhere because they are the highest risk group,” said Dr. Shokr.

With COVID-19 cases increasing in Amarillo, as well as injuries, emergency rooms are taking extra precautions to make sure a trip to the ER is safe.

Dr. Poage encourages people not to wait to be treated.

“If there is any question, come in. Call, call ahead. We are happy to give some advice over the phone and maybe help make that decision, should you come in or not,” said Dr. Poage.

Exceptional Emergency Center is offering curb side appointments to try and reduce the number of people inside the ER.

“You don’t have to get inside the facility. All you have to do is call a number, and one of our staff members will come out. Just pull over in the parking lot, and one of our staff members will come out and assess your vitals and do triage,” said Dr. Shokr.

Both emergency rooms say coronavirus patients are blocked off in certain rooms, and every room is cleaned top to bottom after being used.

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