As the case count continues to increase, the City of Wichita Falls and the medical community are asking all of us to make wise decisions as we socialize this holiday season.

The Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District released this message to public today, November 25th, 2020.

 

As the COVID-19 infection rates escalate in our community, we are calling on residents of Wichita County to do your part. We are at a critical turning point and the decisions we make in the coming days have the ability to directly affect the health of our community in either a positive or negative manner.

Since March, more than 6,600 Wichita County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 122 people have died. There are more than 75 Wichita County residents hospitalized right now. The patients being seen are generally sicker than they were in the spring and summer. The regional critical care facility, United Regional Health Care System, has been operating at or near full critical care capacity for the past month, largely due to a lack of available staff. As community transmission increases, hospital staff are increasingly becoming COVID positive or are quarantined. At the current rate of infection, it is projected that Wichita County could see an average of 1,000+ new cases per week before the end of the year.

If we do not see increased compliance with masking and social distancing, our local health resources are going to continue to be strained, potentially even overwhelmed - affecting all illnesses, both COVID and non-COVID. For patients with life-threatening illnesses and injuries, they will receive the lifesaving care they need - it just may not look like what they traditionally expect. For example, patients may have to stay in the Emergency Department after initial treatment while waiting for a bed to become available, if they are admitted to the hospital.

We have all taken extraordinary measures to keep each other safe, from our healthcare facilities, schools and universities to local businesses and churches. Effective vaccines are on the horizon, but right now the virus is still taking the lives of those we love. As the holidays approach, we are entering a period of time of significant increased risk. We must consider creative, alternative ways to celebrate safely, that do not involve gatherings with others outside your main household.

We must also be proactive to stop the continued spread of COVID-19 in Wichita County. We must continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing. The actions we take individually can protect our healthcare workers, our children, our elderly and each other. We must be committed to each other, our community, and to slowing the spread of COVID-19.

 

The letter was signed by several members of the medical community and county government.

A day before the letter was published, the City of Wichita Falls released this video on their Facebook page.

 

The final portion of the letter should be our guiding principle over the next few weeks.

The actions we take individually can protect our healthcare workers, our children, our elderly and each other. We must be committed to each other, our community, and to slowing the spread of COVID-19.

COVID is real and in our community. For the sake of the everyone, please wear a mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands as much as you can throughout the holiday season.

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