AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Our hospital capacity remains steady at above 20%, and according to the Department of State Health Services, the percentage for our 25 county region is 24.14%.

Freestanding ER’s are now reporting seeing more patients, too. Exceptional Emergency Center here in Amarillo is seeing two to three times more of their usual number of patients.

Medical Director of Exceptional Emergency Centers Amarillo, Dr. Donald Hubbard said they have seen influenza-a, RSV, and strep, but he said the majority of what the centers are seeing is COVID-19.

As COVID symptoms can present like flu symptoms, he said when they have flu swabs, they will do a flu and COVID swab and see which one comes out positive. He said typically it comes out 10 to one in favor of COVID-19. He added that they are seeing about a 30 percent negative testing rate for COVID at the centers.

Dr. Hubbard said they are seeing flu at the rate that they would in a normal year.

“We are seeing much more than we did last year, but last year was an odd year because nobody was out and about and those things were not spreading as much as they normally do. But it is greatly overshadowed by COVID right now,” said Dr. Hubbard.

He said they are currently out of flu tests, and they do not know when they will be available.

Dr.Hubbard said that if someone needs to be admitted to the hospital, but can’t due to high hospitalization rates, they will take several steps to get them treatment.

“We evaluate them and if their stable other than low oxygen, we will arrange for them to have oxygen at home. We will do appropriate prescriptions based on what they have, with strong precautions on coming back if they get worse. If somebody comes in and they absolutely need to be in the hospital, we will take care of them in our facility, while we are looking for a hospital bed throughout the US,” said Dr. Hubbard.

Dr. Hubbard added that the staff at the Exceptional Emergency Centers have been working very hard, with them working double shifts and working without days off to care for individuals.

An important note, freestanding ER’s do not contribute to the overall hospitalization rate for our region.