Amarillo city leaders: Social distancing, wearing masks could help prevent 2nd COVID-19 spike

Updated: Jul. 1, 2020 at 12:00 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - As COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Texas, Amarillo city leaders are advising the community that they can help prevent the possibility of another surge.

As of Tuesday, there were 159,986 cases in the state of Texas and 3,748 in Amarillo.

City of Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson said they are watching those numbers for warning signs as they drastically change.

Director of Public Health Casie Stoughton said Potter and Randall counties have seen an increase in cases.

Last week, there were about 20 new cases each day and this week has seen an increase of about 30 cases Monday and Tuesday.

She warned that local health officials received many positive test results today, meaning the number will surely rise.

Stoughton also said public health officials have received reports of COVID-19 exposures at churches, but noted many of the churches are taking precautions to protecting the community.

Public Health Authority Dr. Scott Milton said wearing a mask can help prevent the spread of the virus because “this is a highly contagious respiratory pathogen.”

Mayor Nelson is encouraging citizens to practice social distancing, wear masks and wash their hands during Fourth of July celebrations.

“It’s very important to realize that masking is effective,” Dr. Milton said, further explaining that healthcare workers who were exposed to COVID-patients were able to prevent being infected because they wore n91 masks.

Northwest Texas Healthcare System Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Weis said there are seven positive cases at the hospital with three in the ICU and none on the ventilators.

“Our hope is that we don’t see this come back,” Dr. Weis said. “There’s always that possibility.”

For the last couple of weeks, BSA Health System has been hovering to 10 to 14 patients, but that number has increased this week.

BSA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Lamanteer said there are 18 patients with the virus with 10 in the ICU, eight in medical-surgical and four on the ventilator.

“I think it’s a matter of time before we start seeing an increase of numbers at our hospitals,” Dr. Lamanteer said.

Amarillo VA Health Care System has no COVID-19 patients in house but has 11 patients quarantining at home.

While the health officials anticipate a change in numbers at their hospitals, the Amarillo VA and Northwest Texas Hospital are taking steps to prevent the spread.

The Amarillo VA is pausing increasing its capacity, which was set for July 6.

The Amarillo VA will allow patients who have already scheduled appointments to have their doctor visit, but no more scheduling will be allowed afterwards. Officials with the VA will reassess the pause on July 20.

Northwest Texas Hospital is changing its visiting policy in order to lessen the number of visitors trading off. The hospital will now allow two visitors per patient but no one else can be in the hospital and trade off.

Here are some other details released during the news conference:

  • BSA is celebrating its 224 total recovery and its 50th ICU recovery.
  • BSA has treated 16 patients with remdesivir and 26 with convalescent plasma.
  • BSA is also seeing a rise in number of patients who are testing for the virus.
  • The City of Amarillo won’t have a COVID-19 report card on Friday, Saturday and Sunday due to the holiday weekend.
  • Northwest Texas Hospital has enough remdesivir to treat 22 patients.

There are 5,736 COVID-19 cases in the Texas Panhandle:

  • Armstrong County: 3
  • Briscoe County: 2
  • Carson County: 6
  • Castro County: 75
  • Childress County: 8
  • Collingsworth County: 6
  • Cottle County: 4
  • Dallam County: 83
  • Deaf Smith County: 294
  • Donley County: 28
  • Gray County: 114
  • Hall County: 2
  • Hansford County: 28
  • Hartley County: 30
  • Hemphill County: 10
  • Hutchinson County: 62
  • Lipscomb County: 9
  • Moore County: 889
  • Motley County: 1
  • Ochiltree County: 53
  • Oldham County: 4
  • Parmer County: 191
  • Potter County: 2,885
  • Randall County: 863
  • Roberts County: 3
  • Sherman County: 32
  • Swisher County: 35
  • Wheeler County: 16

Out of the confirmed cases, there are 4,705 recoveries in the Texas Panhandle:

  • Armstrong County: 3
  • Briscoe County: 1
  • Carson County: 6
  • Castro County: 39
  • Cottle County: 3
  • Childress County: 5
  • Collingsworth County: 5
  • Dallam County: 43
  • Deaf Smith County: 188
  • Donley County: 28
  • Gray County: 105
  • Hall County: 2
  • Hartley County: 12
  • Hansford County: 18
  • Hemphill County: 1
  • Hutchinson County: 43
  • Lipscomb County: 6
  • Motley County: 1
  • Moore County: 798
  • Ochiltree County: 50
  • Oldham County: 3
  • Parmer County: 107
  • Potter County: 2,418
  • Randall County: 751
  • Roberts County: 2
  • Sherman County: 32
  • Swisher County: 20
  • Wheeler County: 15

There have also been 101 COVID-19 related deaths in the Texas Panhandle:

  • Castro County: 1
  • Cottle County: 1
  • Dallam County: 1
  • Deaf Smith County: 16
  • Gray County: 4
  • Hall County: 1
  • Hansford County: 2
  • Hartley County: 2
  • Ochiltree County: 2
  • Oldham County: 1
  • Moore County: 15
  • Parmer County: 8
  • Potter County: 39
  • Randall County: 7
  • Swisher County: 1

There are 1,017 confirmed cases in the Oklahoma Panhandle:

  • Beaver County: 30
  • Cimarron County: 1
  • Texas County: 986

There have been 995 recoveries in the Oklahoma Panhandle:

  • Beaver: 30
  • Cimarron: 1
  • Texas County: 964

There have been six COVID-19 related deaths in the Oklahoma Panhandle:

  • Texas County: 6

There are 235 positive COVID-19 cases across Eastern New Mexico:

  • Curry County: 163
  • Quay County: 6
  • Roosevelt County: 59
  • Union County: 7

There have been two deaths related to COVID-19 in Eastern New Mexico:

  • Roosevelt County: 1
  • Quay: 1

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