Amarillo area faces COVID-19 case increase, raises Alert Status Level to ‘Orange’

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – As COVID-19 cases continue to increase in the area, the City of Amarillo has raised its Status Level to ‘Orange’ after having celebrated its move to ‘Yellow’ in March.

From the City’s announcement, “The Amarillo community has met criteria established by the Amarillo Public Health District (APHD) to move to Level Orange on the Amarillo Area Coronavirus (COVID-19) Status Level Chart. Effective today (July 22), Amarillo is at Level Orange.”

According to the City of Amarillo’s Alert website, increased safety recommendations will pair with the new status level.

via the City of Amarillo

For Level Orange, these safety recommendations include advising locals to:

  • Practice strict Social Distancing
  • Use face masks in public settings
  • Practice enhanced hygiene and cleaning routines
  • Limit social gatherings to small groups
  • Limit non-essential travel community wide
  • Limit personal travel outside of the community
via the City of Amarillo

However, the City of Amarillo stated, “The Amarillo Area Coronavirus (COVID-19) Status Level Chart has NO IMPACT on any COVID-19 policies. The color levels provide recommendations to the Amarillo community based on the current severity of the local COVID-19 virus. Color levels are evaluated on a two-week period according to the latest COVID-19 data in the Amarillo community.”

“We are seeing a recent increase in the number of COVID-19 positive tests in the Amarillo community,” said APHD Director Casie Stoughton. “The best way for the community to protect itself is to get vaccinated – and the COVID-19 vaccine is readily available. We have to remember that maintaining social distancing and the wearing of face masks are also excellent precautions against the spread of this illness.”

“Amarillo had great success when the COVID-19 vaccine was first made available to the community,” said Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson. “We have to continue this commitment to safeguard ourselves and others. I have received the vaccine, and I strongly encourage others to get vaccinated.”

134,000 Moderna vaccines and 1,250 Pfizer vaccines have been given out in the city of Amarillo as of July 13 with 35% of Potter County vaccinated and 37% of Randall County vaccinated.

Starting August 6, the vaccine clinic at the Amarillo Civic Center will move to the Amarillo Public Health offices and will remain a walk-in clinic, and then starting August 23, it will become appointment-based.

More information on COVID-19 vaccinations across Texas can be found here.

Chief Medical Officer at Northwest Texas Hospital Dr. Brian Weis said at the time that number is disappointing as that is the ultimate defense against the virus.

“The vaccines are the answer, they are a way of preventing this guy from causing a surge again. So I really wish people would strongly consider getting the vaccine at this point since we might be facing wave number three unfortunately of a COVID-19 variant,” said Dr. Weis.

Amarillo Public Health Department Director Casie Stoughton and Dr. Weis said that the delta variant has been identified in local positives as well as several other variants being identified as well.

Dr. Weis said that they are ready at Northwest if another surge happens in the area, but he said he would be disappointed if it comes to that point as it forces the hospital to make difficult changes.

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