Local hospitals seeing increase in COVID-19 cases

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Our local hospitals are dealing with the latest spike of COVID-19 cases, first-hand.

Dr. Scott Milton, MD, Infectious Disease Specialist at Texas Tech Physician spoke to us about the pandemic’s timeline and what could possibly be the factors behind this most recent spike in cases.

Dr. Milton recalled the peak in summer, following when Governor Greg Abbott relaxed his restriction orders. Then four to six weeks ago, that declined. However, that was still prior to the start of school and Labor Day weekend.

Since then, “We have seen a steady rise with kind of a real peak, that started about ten days ago to two weeks ago,” said Milton.

He continued, “We can go through all the examples of what’s happened since the pandemic started. In the first part of the year, it was congregating, whether that be at work or whether that be in prison, or other functions like games, etc.”

He stated, “I think it’s a reflection of people getting back to school and becoming more active in the community, and generally moving around and exposing themselves.”

Dr. Milton said any time we have problems, it is when people congregate.

When asked if he saw the number of cases decreasing again in the near future, Dr. Milton’s response was no and that instead, we will continue to see “persistent ongoing prevalence in our community.”

In addition, Dr. Milton encourages everyone to get their flu shot and to continue to wear masks and social distance. By wearing a mask, you are not just protecting yourself, but those around you.

Dr. Milton explained, “there are vulnerable populations of individuals that seem to get.. that if they get infected, they have a much higher risk of becoming ill from it and needing medical attention and hospitalized.”

Even though hospitals are incredibly busy now, Milton believes they are in better shape now than they were in the spring.

Dr. Milton said, “We know how to treat it better, we have better PPE, and I think we’re just a little bit more used to treating this problem.”

As for places like TDCJ, in order to constantly know an accurate count of positive cases in their units, they’ve done mass testing at their facilities for months now.

TDCJ Spokesperson, Jeremy Desel, said “We’ve done more than 210,000 tests of offenders across our system and we only have 120,000 offenders in the system at this point.”

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