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United Regional pleads for public to get vaccinated in ominous statement

The hospital says current COVID patients are younger, sicker, and staying longer.
Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 12:18 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - United Regional urged the public to get vaccinated in a statement on Thursday, warning that the upwards trend of COVID hospitalizations could paralyze the hospital.

The statement was spurred by a massive surge in COVID patients. On Aug. 19, the hospital had 62 in-house COVID patients, compared to 18 in July and seven in June. Moreover, those numbers refer only to those whose cases were serious enough to warrant hospitalization. Emergency services and URPG clinic sites have seen almost triple of the normal volume of patients, with a high percentage of those patients exhibiting COVID symptoms.

“90% of the COVID patients hospitalized at United Regional since July 1 have been unvaccinated,” said Phyllis Cowling, President and CEO. “This is not social media hype; this is data from our own organization. If you’ve been hesitant, on the fence, regarding the vaccine, please consider this fact. Relative youth is not a safeguard. In the past few days, we have witnessed the deaths of patients from their early-20s to mid-40s.”

The hospital reports that its current COVID patients are younger, and sicker, than those in 2020. Further, they are staying longer, which affects staffing, resources, and overall bed capacity.

COVID’s impact on critical care capabilities cannot be understated. News Channel 6 reported last week that United Regional was reviewing elective surgeries on a voluntary basis. Now, United Regional has announced that it was forced to deny a transfer of a non-COVID heart patient from a smaller regional hospital because of a lack of critical care capabilities. The heart patient’s hospital then contacted 15 different hospitals throughout Texas, none of which were able to accept their patient.

“I know there are multiple viewpoints and sources of information that are contributing to vaccine hesitancy, and I realize there are political and cultural influences at play,” said Phyllis Cowling, “but I am also seeing the impact on our patients and our community.”

United Regional urged members of the public who have not been vaccinated to consider doing so, stating that while the vaccine is not 100% protective, it has proven to be highly safe and effective at preventing the virus and lessening symptoms.

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