AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials with the city of Amarillo’s Public Health Department recently released information about how the new COVID-19 sub-variant could impact Amarillo residents.

According to a news release from the department, the XBB.1.16 sub-variant, also referred to as Arcturus, was reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as around 10% of all COVID-19 cases reported last week. Officials said it appears to be more contagious and could produce pink eye, mainly among children.

“Residents need to be aware that itchy, watery or red eyes may be a sign of Covid infection and not the result of seasonal allergies in the Texas Panhandle,” the release said. “If someone is experiencing pink eye symptoms and has had a known exposure to Covid or is experiencing symptoms, consult a physician immediately.”

This comes as the department continues to release its weekly COVID-19 report card. According to the report card, officials reported 59 new COVID-19 cases between April 27 and May 3, along with one COVID-19-related death. As of May 3, the department is reporting 321 active COVID-19 cases and a 5% seven-day positivity rate.

Since March 2020, the department reported that 91,531 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Potter and Randall counties, along with 1,346 COVID-19-related deaths. Officials also reported that 581 total hospital beds are currently occupied in the Amarillo area, including all inpatients. Hospitals also reported that 98 intensive care unit beds are occupied and 18 total ventilators are in use.

The Hospitalization Rate for the High Plains, Trauma Service Area A, was noted at 0.49% according to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services. Trauma Service Area A is also reporting the following COVID-19-related hospitalization data:

Lab-Confirmed COVID-19 patients currently in hospital: 5;
Adult COVID-19 patients in general beds: 5;
Adult COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) beds: 0;
Pediatric COVID-19 patients in hospital: 0;
Confirmed COVID-19 admissions in the past 24 hours: 0;
Confirmed COVID-19 patients on ventilators: 0;
Total staffed hospital beds: 1,021;
Total staffed inpatient beds: 890;
Available staffed hospital beds: 249;
Available staffed adult ICU beds: 6;
Available staffed pediatric ICU beds: 0;
Available ventilators: 138.

Check below for how COVID-19 is impacting counties throughout the Texas Panhandle and surrounding region:

CountyConfirmed Cases ReportedDeaths
Armstrong39810
Beaver1,2009
Briscoe4368
Carson1,00038
Castro2,20849
Childress2,98435
Cimarron7192
Collingsworth54617
Cottle3439
Curry15,548236
Dallam1,50245
Deaf Smith4,368119
Donley49326
Gray4,060134
Hall95624
Hardeman58023
Hansford72933
Hartley8773
Hemphill1,21510
Hutchinson5,315149
Lipscomb57117
Moore3,816116
Ochiltree2,21950
Oldham3016
Parmer1,51054
Potter43,924792
Quay2,61170
Randall47,607554
Roberts1612
Roosevelt6,284112
Sherman30116
Swisher1,37234
Texas7,06539
Union96319
Wheeler98424
TOTAL165,1662,884

Officials with the public health department continued to stress for those who are not up to date on the COVID-19 vaccines “to get one now while it’s still free and easily accessible.” Officials said free vaccines and boosters are available Monday through Thursday with no appointment required at Amarillo Pluboc Health, located at 850 Martin Road.

Residents can also get vaccinated at the following mobile vaccine clinics:

  • 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday at the West Texas Healthcare Association Spring Fling at the Amarillo Civic Center, located at 401 S. Buchanan St.
  • 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Friday at Aging Unbound, located at 5800 Bell St.
  • 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the El Barrio Lion’s Club Cinco de Mayo Party at El Alamo Park, located at 1621 S. Houston St.
  • 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tuesday at the Wesley Community Center, located at 1615 S. Roberts St.
  • 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Guyon Saunders Resource Center, located at 200 S. Tyler
  • 5:45 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Salvation Army, located at 400 S. Harrison St.

Officials said nurses will be available at the mobile clinics to answer health-related questions. For more information, visit the department’s website.

For the latest Amarillo news and regional updates, check with MyHighPlains.com and tune in to KAMR Local 4 News at 5:00, 6:00, and 10:00 p.m. and Fox 14 News at 9:00 p.m. CST.