'All this could be so preventable’: Resources provided to help Amarillo hospitals due to spike in COVID-19 cases

'All this could be so preventable’: Resources provided to help Amarillo hospitals due to spike in COVID-19 cases
As COVID-19 cases climb in Amarillo, two area hospitals have requested additional personnel to help with the increase. (Source: KFDA)

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Additional resources are on the way to help Amarillo hospitals with the influx of COVID-19 cases that the region is experiencing.

Health officials say COVID-19 cases in Amarillo are worse now than they were in April.

Northwest Texas Hospital along with BSA have both requested additional help when it comes to staffing.

Help is expected to arrive Sunday.

“We are getting a daily influx of COVID-19 patients,” said Michael Lamanteer, chief medical officer, BSA.

That’s the issue Amarillo is facing now.

“We’ve had about 145 deaths from COVID since this has started and that number goes up drastically if we don’t have the equipment and the people to help staff that equipment,” said Scott Milton, M.D. Texas Tech Physicians Infectious Disease Specialist.

Over 130 hospital employees are currently not working due to COVID-19.

“The problem that we’re having is we don’t have adequate staff to be able to fill our beds totally full so additional resources from Governor Abbott or the RAC, will help us fill to capacity if we need to,” said Patti Thompson, chief nursing officer, NWTHS.

Over 200 medical personnel including nurses and respiratory therapist will be in the Amarillo, Lubbock and surrounding areas to help with this issue.

Between the two hospitals, 26 people have already arrived to help.

The personnel and supplies are being sent by the Department of State Health Services, Emergency Management and the Panhandle Regional Advisory Council.

“We see cases and hospitalizations start to spike, if those hospitals get to a point where they need some assistance, we can send it there and then hopefully things will stabilized and start to go down and that staff can be demobilized and if we need to send them somewhere else we can do that,” said Chris Van Deusen, spokesman, Texas Department State Health Services.

These health care workers will come from all over the county to help not just COVID-19 patients.

“They’re working in our medical surgical units. I believe we have also have had some ICU nurse help but really a large majority of those are going to be on our general medical surgical units,” said Lamanteer.

Dr. Milton says the fact that Amarillo is having to request additional help is saddening.

“The sad comment on this is that, all this could be so preventable if we would just wear masks. You know it’s a simple thing to do, wearing a mask is so important,” said Milton.

BSA says they are concerned with the high number of COVID-19 patients and having to already ask for additional resources being that we are not even into the flu season yet.

Copyright 2020 KFDA. All rights reserved.