High Plains getting more resources for hospitals to combat COVID-19

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – As our numbers continue to rise here in the Texas Panhandle, Governor Greg Abbott announced Friday that more resources are coming to help out local hospitals.

The Department of State Health Services has deployed 171 medical personnel to the High Plains, and an additional 100 personnel will arrive by Sunday. DSHS has also deployed 100 IV pumps, 56 ventilators, and 25 oxygen concentrators to the region.

Governor Abbott said the additional medical personnel, supplies, and PPE surged to the Panhandle and South Plains will help these communities care for patients and contain the spread of this virus.

Dr. Michael Lamanteer, BSA Chief Medical Officer said some of the resources that the governor is sending in will be used for everyday patient care.

“So, we are trying to make sure that we don’t have other operations halted which are our critical surgeries for our patients that have emergent and semi-emergent needs, that have the need or have cancer surgeries or cardiac procedures or anything that is partially putting them in harm’s way if we can’t maintain normal business operations,” said Dr. Lamanteer.

Dr. Lamanteer, added that they will be able to expand their covid-19 attack strategy.

“We have plans in place to expand out of the primary ICU location that we are using now. We have already had to do that this past two weeks because we have up to two 30 patients that are purely covid positive that are being cared for in the ICU,” said Dr. Lamanteer.

This week, Amarillo returned to Level Red COVID-19 stress status after the area hospitalization rate reached over 12%.

Patti Thompson, Chief Nursing Officer with the Northwest Texas Healthcare System said the additional staff coming will help because when a staff member has to quarantine, it pulls someone who knows the system and hospital.

“Those are not all nurses. It’s impacted the kitchen, our cleaning services. It’s impacted just about every area in the hospital. It’s really been a big impact,” said Thompson.

Thompson said they need the community’s help to combat covid-19, reiterating social distancing, and wearing your mask.

“COVID-19 is very real in Amarillo. I was talking to nurse the other day, in ICU, he has been here for about 20 years and he has put more people, patients in body bags in the last six months,” said Thompson.

If seven consecutive days had passed with the trauma service area’s hospitalization rate above 15%, the area would have to roll back the occupancy rate from 75% to 50%. Currently, the High Plains hospitalization rate is sitting at 13.38%.

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