Local hospitals over capacity, Kindergartner passes from COVID-19


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

Public officials continue to encourage socially distancing and dedicated hygienic practices. Wearing a mask, washing hands, and keeping distance in social situations will help to lessen the spread of COVID-19 in the High Plains.

There are 8,766 total cases reported in Potter County, 6,212 in Randall County, with a total of 166 deaths.

Northwest Healthcare reports 112 positive cases of COVID-19 with 39 in the ICU, 20 of which are on ventilators. 41% of patients are COVID-19 positive. The hospital also reports being at 105% of its adult capacity yesterday. The hospital also reports 104 staff members in quarantine.

BSA Hospital reports 161 positive cases of COVID-19 with 38 in the ICU, and one child patient in the ICU out of 348 total patients. BSA reports 171 employees quarantined, including 50 nurses.

The VA Hospital reports 15 positive cases of COVID-19 and 7 in ICU.

The Drive-Thru testing positivity rate is at nearly 50%, with 200 tested in one day. Dr. Miller states that there is now more testing than ever.

While officials say that the mortality rate is going down generally, long-term effects from both the virus itself and medications such as Remdesivir can be intense. The patient length of stay is longer than hospitals can comfortably handle, and the oxygen supply continues to be taxed by the crisis.

The hospitals continue their surge planning and efforts to adapt to the crisis.

The meeting was joined by Chief Jason Mays of the Amarillo Fire Department. Mays discussed the politicization of mask wearing and social distancing, saying, “we don’t like being told what to do and want to make a stand for what we believe is right, but we have a lot at stake.”

Mays went on to talk about the affect of the pandemic on public safety. With an overloading hospital capacity, he says fewer and fewer ambulances are available and the Emergency Room is back up. This leads to Firetrucks waiting at scenes of distress with patients awaiting transport, which brings the risk of fewer trucks available for fires or other crises.

“Please help us help you, and embrace these precautions,” Mays says, “and let’s just own this and clean up our own mess here in Amarillo.”

When asked who reports school deaths, Director Casie Stoughton says that the Public Health Department handles that reporting and says that they are, “heartbroken and our thoughts and prayers go out to that particular family and any family who has lost someone here in our community. We know that this disease has taken a toll on our community, on our state, on our world and anyone who has lost someone so we are certainly heartbroken.”

This came with the confirmed revelation that a local Kindergarten student has died of COVID-19, in Amarillo ISD.

An AISD spokeswoman said AISD is not going to confirm the death of a student.

Currently, there is no way to know if other deaths have occurred in the district because of COVID-19.

This will be updated as more information is released.

See below for the full length video:

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