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Amarillo an ‘area of high transmission’ as 5-day new case average surpasses 200

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 11:56 AM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Area doctors urge the public to help ease a medical system at critical capacity as over a dozen people have died from COVID-19 in Amarillo hospitals since mid-August.

“This surge is not over,” said Amarillo Public Health Authority Dr. Todd Bell. “As a matter of fact, this surge, we think, is just getting started.”

Over the last 24 hours, three patients at NWTH have died.

Since mid-August, 13 people have died because of COVID-19 at BSA.

“People are dying in the hospital of COVID-19. This is despite giving full press measures...in terms of all the drugs we have at our disposal,” said Michael Lamanteer, chief medical officer at BSA. “It’s not good enough when you get a severe infection because this virus is so devastating.”

Last week, the City of Amarillo rose to Coronavirus Status Level Red.

Numbers have continued to rise, with a five-day new case average of 225.

The Amarillo Public Health Department is testing anywhere from 30 to 50 people per day, according to Director Casie Stoughton.

“We are certainly an area of high transmission,” said Stoughton.

APHD began administering third doses of the Pfeizer and Moderna vaccine this morning to eligible individuals.

Stoughton did not have numbers on the amount of people given the booster shot this morning, but did say there was a “full parking lot.”

COVID-19 Hospitalizations

As of this morning, BSA is caring for 78 patients with COVID-19. Out of those patients, 32 are in the Intensive Care Unit and 22 are on ventilators.

“That number continues to climb in a disturbing fashion,” said Dr. Lamanteer.

Out of the hospitalized COVID-19 patients at BSA, 87% are unvaccinated and most of them are under 60 years of age according to Dr. Lamanteer.

BSA recently had to close understaffed units, but has now begun to reopen areas to ease the burden on the ICU.

Dr. Lamanteer said BSA received five RAC nurses and nine respiratory therapists this week. The hospital hired 43 travel nurses through their own “recruiting efforts” in an effort to keep beds open.

At this time, only two ICU beds are available at BSA.

NWTH is caring for 46 patients with COVID-19.

The hospital said 22 of those patients are in critical care and 11 are on ventilators.

Dr. Brian Weis, chief medical officer at NWTH, said 34 patients in regional hospitals are waiting for a higher level of care, but no beds are available.

“We want to help these facilities...but as we struggle with our own capacity, it makes it very difficult,” said Dr. Weis.

The Amarillo VA is caring for two COVID-19 patients, one of whom is on the ventilator.

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