AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — During Wednesday’s COVID-19 briefing, area health leaders shared the latest coronavirus updates in the Amarillo area.
Amarillo hospital officials gave an update on the number of cases in their facilities.
Northwest Texas Hospital said they have 18 positive cases, as six are in the ICU and three are on ventilators. Northwest also said they have seen an uptick in positive employees and they are quarantining at home.
BSA has 24 positive cases, with 17 in the ICU and five on ventilators.
BSA’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Michael Lamanteer said, “We now have also admitted over 500 unique COVID patients here at BSA since the outset of the pandemic. That just speaks to the significant number that our staff has been able to manage and manage well. And again, a majority of those patients have done well and have survived.”
The Amarillo VA has five positive cases, one in the ICU, and 14 cases are monitoring at home.
During the update from the city, Public Health Authority Dr. Scott Milton gave information on two possible vaccines in the works.
The first was from a company called Moderna, and Dr. Milton said he believes they are in their latter stages of phase three trials. He said the type of vaccine Moderna is developing has a high potency, and would potentially have a low cost and safe administration.
The second vaccine discussed on Wednesday’s call is being developed by AstraZenica. The trial has been paused after one patient developed a complication.
“That’s being investigated by now, and I think it’s an example of how much care is put into the safety of these vaccines to try and ensure the public that you’re going to get a safe and effective product,” Dr. Milton said.
Dr. Milton said as time goes on, he will provide updates on more vaccine possibilities.
More calls are also coming from parents and calls to pediatricians regarding COVID-19 but it does not mean we are seeing an increase in pediatric cases.
During Wednesday’s update, BSA and Northwest said they are seeing more kids coming into their facilities but it is usually due to symptoms and the parents want them to get tested.
At BSA, they are encouraging parents not to go into the hospital unless it is necessary. Northwest had the same suggestion.
Dr. Lamanteer said, “…We just ask that for those with mild symptoms and folks who don’t have the need for hospital level care—we have the BSA Urgent Care Center, BSA Care Express facilities that are a good place, hospital-level.”
Dr. Lamanteer said they have not seen an increase in pediatric cases linked to schools being back in session.
Finally, Amarillo City Manager Jared Miller discussed how the pandemic is affecting area first responders.
Miller said the city does have first responders who have tested positive for the virus, and others who quarantining at home due to possible exposure.
Watch the full briefing below: