AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — On Monday, the special report, “Coronavirus Facts Not fear: Following the Curve,” aired on KAMR Local Four News and FOX 14.
Many issues were discussed during the town hall, such as wearing masks, the recent increase in cases, and how people can help slow the spread of the virus.
“We’re looking at some of the highest numbers we’ve ever seen during this pandemic. So today we had 96 positives. To put that in perspective, back in mid-July, we had seven. Our record in the spring was 71,” said Dr. Brian Weis, the chief medical officer at Northwest Texas Hospital.
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, local health officials decided to step in and start speaking out.
Dr. Scott Milton, Amarillo Public Health Authority, explained, “What does that mean for our community? Well, that means that our hospitals are becoming more strained, and as we have watched this widespread community spread, that we have noticed, that the census in the hospital has increased and alarmingly so.”
In addition, common myths were later addressed. This included whether or not masks work.
“Masking is 100% effective at decreasing the spread,” said Dr. Ako Bradford, Deputy Public Health Authority.
Dr. Weis added, “People saying, ‘well masks don’t work,’ and again that too, that is another myth. If you look at the hospital, specifically Northwest, the staff that we have that have contracted COVID are not the nurses who are working on our COVID floors.”
Additionally, President Trump said this weekend during a speech that, “Doctors get more money and hospitals get more money when coding a death as related to COVID.”
In response to that statement, Dr. Bradford said, “That is absolutely false. There is no physician, there is no nurse, there is no respiratory therapist, who is hoping that someone gets COVID so that someone’s pockets are lined.”
Moving forward, everyone agreed that this disease needs to be taken much more seriously.
Dr. Kishore Yalamanchili, Pulmonologist and Critical Care Specialist, explained, “Those who get to the level of disease that wind up requiring intensive care and requiring a ventilator is not the same as that 10%. That survival, once your at the level of disease, is approximately 40% mortality.”
Looking forward, Dr. Milton was asked, how can everyone do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19?
In response, Dr. Milton simply said, “You can start wearing a mask. You wear a mask more and I think if everyone were to do that, then we could bend the curve.”
Another speaker in Monday’s special report was BSA’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Michael Lamanteer.
He said that his hospital is facing three main stressors. Those stressors include staffing, the fatigue of their staff, and the stress of having to decide which surgical procedures can proceed and which procedures cannot proceed.
The special report aired from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
For those who missed the town hall, click the following link to view the entire program.