City of Amarillo expecting state to expand vaccine eligibility this week

CDC recommends masks in public settings

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The Amarillo Public Health Department is waiting on word from the state to expand vaccine eligibility to the 1C category this week.

Casie Stoughton, director of public health, said they could receive an answer from The Texas Department of State Health Services as soon as today, and this will allow more people in Amarillo to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

During a news conference today, city leaders encouraged vaccinations as statewide mask mandates are being repealed today.

“This is certainly a step back toward normal life... (but) it is a time of transition in our city, and things cannot return to normal in one instant overnight,” said Mayor Ginger Nelson. “You’re now making the decision about how to handle masks in your environment...and every place is different.”

The vaccination clinic ran by the city has given close to 100,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

This number includes 57,942 first doses and 31,353 second doses.

The number of patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 in the area continues to drop.

NWTH is caring for 13 COVID patients in the hospital, seven of whom are in the Intensive Care Unit.

BSA has 10 COVID-positive patients in the hospital, and four are in the ICU.

“We haven’t been as low as 10 since June 26 of last year,” said Michael Lamanteer, chief medical officer at BSA.

Other city health leaders continued to encourage vaccinations as COVID-19 variants spread in some parts of the country.

“You need to be careful. You need to protect yourself,” said Dr. Scott Milton, public health authority at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. “We’ve vaccinated millions of people in this country and it is effective and it is safe.”

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