West Texas healthcare workers share their thoughts of COVID-19 restrictions being loosened

VIDEO: West Texas healthcare workers share their thoughts of COVID-19 restrictions being loosened - clipped version

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Preparing for the worst but expecting the best.

That is how many healthcare workers are treating COVID-19 cases with spring break approaching and Governor Abbott’s eased restrictions.

With Texas reopening and the mask mandate being lifted, many healthcare workers say they don’t know how COVID-19 cases will be impacted.

Many are hopeful because unlike other times when cases surged, this time more are vaccinated against the virus.

“Mental exhaustion. Burn out,” said Tammy Clements, registered nurse, infection prevention manager, Hereford Regional Medical Center.

“There’s a lot of fatigue among healthcare workers. They’re tired of seeing patients dying still from COVID-19,” said Brian Weis, chief medical officer, Northwest Texas Hospital.

Almost a year of caring for COVID-19 patients, healthcare workers are feeling the impact.

The good news is cases are trending down.

“Even with the COVID testing we do know, we are barely seeing any COVID positive patients,” said Aiman Shokr, emergency physician, Exceptional Emergency Center.

The decrease in cases and the one-year mark of the virus came at a time where restrictions are being loosened.

Many healthcare workers feel both good and bad about the situation.

“As much as I am happy to reopen, I would still be cautious about the mask mandate,” said Shokr.

For many, it is the thought of what could happen.

“I can’t really say what’s going to happen, but I do feel like if people do stop wearing masks it could cause another surge,” said Clements.

Dr. Weis says he doesn’t think anyone knows the right time to start letting restrictions down.

“There is that possibility that we may just be jumping the gun a little bit, and we could see a reoccurrence of a surge of the virus,” said Weis.

With the vaccine out and available, there is more hope that there won’t be another surge.

“I think now with vaccines, we now have the hope that we can stop the next surge hopefully,” said Weis.

As for now, Dr. Weis says many places will still require masks moving forward.

“I would still encourage people to do as much as they can to protect themselves from this virus. That means, please wear masks. If you are comfortable wearing masks and it doesn’t bother you and you want to go out in public, wear a mask,” said Weis.

Even with the vaccine, many facilities are prepared for if there is another spike in cases.

At the Exceptional Emergency Center, staff prepares for a surge in cases after holidays.

Dr. Shokr says they are preparing just in case the cases increase following the upcoming spring break.

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