Weekly COVID-19 update notes 2 new deaths, 1,189 active cases, 6 in ICU
In the Amarillo Department of Public Health's (APHD) weekly totals, active cases of influenza and COVID-19 dropped from the previous reports but still had new cases reported, while 22 people were hospitalized with six patients in the ICU. By the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) standards, Potter and Randall counties' community levels of COVID-19 were low, or green, as of Thursday.
The health department's weekly flu report is created by all the local providers who voluntarily report influenza to APHD in Potter and Randall Counties. Previous weekly flu reports can be found on the health department's website. Data is categorized by week, starting with Oct. 16. The season's highest total thus far was during the week of Dec. 12, when there were a total of 2,388 flu and flu-like cases of illness reported.
For the week of Jan. 30, there were eight cases of influenza A, 19 cases of influenza B and 337 cases of flu-like illness, according to the flu report card. Eleven cases were classified as "undifferentiated," for a weekly total of 375. The previous week's total was 455.
In the department's weekly COVID-19 update, 1,189 cases were considered active, with two new deaths and an increase of 280 new COVID-19 cases.
According to the report card, the 280 new COVID-19 cases amount to a seven-day, new-case average of 40, with a seven-day positivity rate of 11%, bringing the total number of cases in Potter and Randall counties to 88,904 and the total number of deaths to 1,322 since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, according to the report card.
The report card contains the latest data from BSA Health System, Northwest Texas Healthcare System, and Thomas E. Creek VA Medical Center.
Data for recoveries and active cases by county were not available on the newly updated APHD site. According to the site, there have been a total of 687,055 tests administered locally since the beginning of the pandemic. Potter County's total cases since the start of the pandemic rose to 42,796, with 781 deaths related to the virus. Randall County's total COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic rose to 46,197, with 543 deaths related to the virus, putting the total deaths up by two to 1,324 and cases to 88,993, according to the site Friday.
Hospitalization report and more
The Amarillo Public Health COVID-19 Hospitalization report, also being released weekly on the report card, noted 22 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, 73% of whom were unvaccinated. Of those, six patients were in the ICU, three of whom were unvaccinated, and one patient on a ventilator who was vaccinated. The total deaths rose to 551, 81 percent of whom were unvaccinated.
The Amarillo Public Health Department is encouraging residents to take advantage of the opportunity to receive free vaccines and boosters before it is too late.
On Jan. 30, the White House announced its intent to end the national emergency and public health declarations related to the COVID-19 pandemic on May 11, a news release notes: "The emergency declarations have allowed major changes throughout the health care system, including the free distribution of vaccines and boosters, testing and treatments. In addition, telehealth services were expanded, and Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) were extended to millions more Americans. Beneficiaries enrolled in traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage could also receive free athome Covid tests and treatments and pay no cost-sharing. Ending the emergency declarations will have a significant impact on the health services provided to fight the pandemic, and Americans will need to start paying for Covid tests and treatments."
Everyone ages 6 months and older should stay up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccines, including receiving the latest booster when eligible to prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death; it is also the best way to prevent symptoms of long COVID, the health department says. For the latest COVID-19 information or to find vaccine locations, visit www.AmarilloAlerts.com. Weekly flu reports can be found at www.amarillopublichealth.org .
According to the Amarillo Public Health Department, boosters maximize protection against COVID and its contagious variants, such as the Omicron variant and the newest variant XBB1.5, which was recently named as “the most transmissible” by the World Health Organization. Everyone ages 6 months and older is best protected when they are up-to-date on their vaccines, which means they have received all recommended doses for people their age.
Upcoming mobile vaccine clinics include Sunday, Feb. 5 at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph's Parish; Thursday, Feb. 9 at 6 p.m. at Bike Lane Design Open House and the Salvation Army; Friday, Feb. 17 at 10 a.m. at the Guyon Saunders Resource Center; Thursday, March 9 at 6 p.m. at Salvation Army; and Friday, March 17 at 10 a.m. at the Guyon Saunders Resource Center. Nurses will be available at the mobile clinics to answer health-related questions. Free COVID vaccinations are also available at the Amarillo Public Health Department, 850 Martin Road. Learn more, including how to schedule a free ride to the Amarillo Public Health Department, at www.AmarilloAlerts.com/findavaccine.
For the complete report of all Amarillo Public Health COVID-19 data, visit https://amarillo-public-health-covid-19-information-amarillo.hub.arcgis.com/.
Editor's note: Some of the numbers surrounding COVID-19 cases listed in this story are different on the weekly report card, vs. the APHD website. According to the public health department, readers can check the website for the latest updates and totals.
This article originally appeared on Amarillo Globe-News: Weekly COVID-19 update notes 2 new deaths, 1,189 active cases