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COVID-19 surge of cases affecting care capacity for hospitals in Hereford

The Hereford Regional Medical Center is experiencing limited abilities to transfer severely ill...
The Hereford Regional Medical Center is experiencing limited abilities to transfer severely ill and injured patients to larger hospitals in other part of the state due to the surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalization.(Jordan Vonderhaar)
Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 3:33 PM CDT
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HEREFORD, Texas (KFDA) - The Hereford Regional Medical Center is experiencing limited abilities to transfer severely ill and injured patients to larger hospitals in other part of the state due to the surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalization.

“This is not a great time to be experiencing chest pains or appendicitis or get in a serious accident,” said Jeff Barnhart, CEO, Deaf Smith County Hospital District. “Our ability to transfer our sickest and most urgent patients to our partner hospitals in bigger cities is seriously compromised right now. They simply do not have the bed or staff capacity to take our patients.”

According to the release, there are only 10 intensive care beds available in Trauma Service A, the region including Hereford and Amarillo.

In the Statewide area, there are fewer than 370 available ICU beds.

“We had to transfer a patient to a facility in Albuquerque this week because no hospital closer by in Texas could take her,” said Barnhart. “Having to rely on an out-of-state hospital nearly 300 miles away is far from ideal not just for the patient’s convenience but potentially for the patient’s outcomes as well.”

According to the release, in the statewide area, individuals who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 constitute 95 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

“This is an aggressive surge, and sadly, much of it could have been prevented if more people had taken advantage of the vaccine availability,” said Barnhart. “I strongly encourage anyone who is still unvaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The science is clear that these vaccines are safe, and they are effective.”

According to the release, just under 30 percent of Deaf Smith County residents are fully vaccinated

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