‘Help us help you:’ Medical professionals urge public to properly use EMS as COVID hospitalizations rise

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Cameron County, Harlingen, and medical officials spoke to the media, in hopes to have the public understand how exhausted medical professionals are due to the increase of COVID hospitalizations.

In August 2020, there were over 10,000 positive COVID cases in Cameron County, in August 2021 there are 4,267, according to Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino.

Trevino mentioned that it is better than last year’s numbers, however, in May 2021 there were 860, in June 1,060, in July 2,200. COVID cases have started to doubled each month.

“Each of us has to continue to do our part to help our… health care professionals and staff because we are taxing them—we are stretching them beyond their human limit.”

Valley Baptist CEO Manny Vela explained that in August 2020, Rio Grande Valley hospital staff were received help from military units, but that is not the case for this year.

“Help us help you,” Vela said. ” If you follow … the appropriate usage of EMS then they will not be overloaded.”

Officials say there are five points that the public can follow to help alleviate medical professional’s load, besides getting vaccinated against COVID-19:

1-Call 911 only for emergencies.
2-Do not use the emergency room for non-emergent medical issues. COVID-19 Testing is not available at hospitals.
3-Patients should consult with their doctor first, not the ER.
4-Primary Care physicians should refer patients with COVID-19 symptoms to the Infusion Center, not the ER.
5-An ambulance does not get you seen by the ER any faster

Steven Hill Chief Nursing Officer for Valley Baptist emphasized that there is a staff shortage at each hospital, and although they are in communication to help move around resources — some staff are still working up to 70 hours a week.

Hill explained that staff is undergoing “emotional trauma” after seeing so many patients go into the hospital, and not many make it out.

100 covid patients are in the Valley Baptist Hospital, only five are vaccinated. There are 35 people in the intensive care units, all on ventilators, none are vaccinated. 65% of COVID patients are under 59-years-old.

Authorities reminded the public of the importance of being protected against COVID-19 with a vaccine. For those not vaccinated, officials advise those who test positive for COVID and have underlying health problems to talk to their physicians about the monoclonal antibody infusion treatment.

Thursday, Cameron County reported a total of 48,776 COVID-19 cases.

Watch the full press conference below:

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