Local health officials give vaccine update at City of Amarillo COVID-19 briefing


AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – The City of Amarillo hosted a COVID briefing on Wednesday, the first since May where they gave updates on vaccinations and the impact they are having here on the High Plains.

“I’m also very disappointed to be back. I kind of feel like an unwelcomed television rerun, but you say why are we here, we are mostly here because of the delta variant,” said Dr. Brian Weis, chief medical officer at Northwest Texas Hospital

Dr. Weis said the main threat to the Amarillo area right now is the Delta variant.

“We had a single gentleman here that did show that showed that variant on March 31st and then we did not see anything until the third week of June, then we saw two Delta variants appear on our variant list and since then well then over 70% of the cases at Northwest have been due to the Delta variant,” said Dr. Weis.

Both Northwest and BSA said most people that are being admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

“We have 53 patients in the hospital this morning with COVID-19, Dr. Weis just told you they have 18 to 19 patients. We have 53 and that is a sufficient portion of our inpatient population. The overwhelming majority of these patients are unvaccinated, we are admitting some patients that have been vaccinated, but when you look at those individuals in terms of the cohorts many of them have immunosuppressing conditions or are on medications that cause their immune systems to be less responsive,” said Dr. Michael Lamanteer, chief medical officer for BSA

Dr. Lamanteer said about 60% of all employees at BSA are vaccinated, while at Northwest about 50% of all employees are vaccinated.

Dr. Lamanteer added that when he has talked to staff members who have got vaccinated, they are glad they did.

“When I’ve talked to them, their response has been, ‘I had really mild symptoms and I obviously had to quarantine or I was having a pretty good cough and I was short of breath and I didn’t require hospitalization, dr. Lamanteer, but thank god I got vaccinated because I couldn’t imagine what it would be like if I had no immunity,'” said Dr. Lamanteer.

Amarillo has the 3rd lowest metro rate in Texas for vaccinations with a less than 40% vaccination rate according to Dr. Lamanteer.

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