City of Amarillo gives grim update on COVID-19, healthcare leaders “panicked” at crisis

Coronavirus

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – The City of Amarillo briefed the community on the COVID-19 pandemic at 11 a.m.

City officials once again implore members of the community to socially distance, wear a face covering, and practice good hygiene habits to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Many community events have been rescheduled, reorganized, or cancelled due to the crisis.

According to community health leaders, today there have been a total of 17,391 cases of COVID-19 in Potter and Randall Counties. 9,924 cases have been reported in Potter County, and 7,467 cases in Randall County. 196 deaths have been reported as well.

There are currently 5,760 active cases of COVID-19 in Potter and Randall Counties, officials also report.

Officials continue that the rolling positivity rate for COVID-19 testing is 27%.

The City of Amarillo is reissuing a ‘Level Red’ status tomorrow.

The Area Hospitalization Rate as of yesterday for the area was 30.95% – this marks that the community has been above the 15% threshold detailed in GA-32 for 23 days.

Dr. Brian Weis of the Northwest Texas Healthcare System said that he was, “Fairly panicked this morning,” due to the crisis and stress on the health system of the community.

“Make no mistake,” Dr. Weis said further, “we are at war right now.”

The Northwest Texas Healthcare System reports 140 COVID-19 positive patients, with 48 of 68 total patients in ICU with COVID-19. The ICU is full, the hospital reports, and the critical care capacity extremely stressed. The hospital also reports 109 staff in quarantine, and claim that there are more RAC nurses currently working than community staff.

“We are at a breaking point,” says Dr. Weis. There are no more beds available in the NWTH ICU.

BSA reports 187 COVID-19 positive patients, with 73 total in ICU.

The VA reports 22 positive COVID-19 patients, with 10 in the ICU. 50%, they report with that number, of their ICU is currently occupied with COVID-19 patients.

All three hospitals are cancelling elective surgeries. They are also all discussing internal expansions, with the possibility of outward expansion if needed.

“At this point, we can only wiggle so much.” says Dr. Weis.

City officials report feeling positive about the recent vaccine news, but until then the community remains, “in a dark tunnel.”

Following questions as to why the WRCA was not cancelled, City Manager Jared Miller explained that the city is working with the organization to keep the event as safe as possible. Organizers will have the option to eject people for not following masking guidelines.

The City of Amarillo encourages community members to check the COVID-19 dashboard for updates and alerts. Further information and regular updates can be found at MyHighPlains.com.


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