Tracking local hospitalizations, as more hospital staff in quarantine

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — According to Texas DSHS, There were more than 9,600 COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals as of Wednesday evening, and more area hospitalizations as well—and Amarillo hospitals said more of their staff members are quarantining after being exposed.

Tracking how Texas hospitals are handing COVID-19, MyHighPlains.com spoke with Dr. John Zerwas, an adviser to Governor Greg Abbott on the supply chain strike force Wednesday.

Dr. Zerwas said supply chains are largely doing well.

“The thing that we’re watching closer is, of course, the intensive care unit capacity, where we see more and more patients that are taking up intensive care unit beds, and then also just the general medical-surgical beds that are in a hospital.”

The Texas Department of State Health Services said there were just more than a thousand available ICU beds as of Wednesday night.

Wednesday’s City of Amarillo COVID-19 briefing showed an uptick in hospitalizations.

Northwest Texas Hospital (NWTH) said they have 18 positive patients, eight in the ICU, and two on ventilators.

BSA Hospital said they have 27 positive patients, 10 in ICU, and three on ventilators.

The Amarillo VA Hospital said they have two positive patients, one in the ICU, while 14 positive patients are being monitored at home.

We also learned more staff members at BSA and NWTH are calling out of work after being exposed to the virus.

Chief Medical Officer at NWTH, Dr. Brian Weis, said these exposures are not happening in the hospital, but the community.

“If you look around the state, most of these hospitals are saying, ‘We’re in good shape with PPE, we’re in good shape with beds, we’re not in good shape with staff,’ and that is our biggest threat is to have our staff members quarantined due to exposure, particularly in the community to this virus,” said Dr. Weis. “So everything is, unfortunately, moving in the wrong direction in that respect.”

BSA Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Lamanteer said they have had similar community exposures with staff, even after taking precautions to avoid it.

“…And quarantining staff is one of our greatest concerns as well in terms of reducing the potential workforce that is qualified, trained, and licensed to take care of these patients,” said Dr. Lamanteer. “So, we are asking our folks to be extra diligent when they’re out and about, just like we’re pleading with you all now as a community so that we can protect one another.”

Dr. Lamanteer said because of the prevalence of infections in our community if you have symptoms you should assume you could have COVID-19 and get tested immediately.


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