Texas National Guard conducting COVID-19 testing at Tyson plant in Amarillo

Texas National Guard conducting COVID-19 testing at Tyson plant in Amarillo
Texas National Guard at Tyson plant in Amarillo. (Source: KFDA)

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - City leaders explained during the Zoom news conference, citizens will not have new rules or enforcement to worry about with government agencies here other than what has already been recommended regarding masks and social distancing.

The Texas National Guard will be in Amarillo increasing testing. The CDC and USDA are visiting every meatpacking plant in the Panhandle and are compiling a list of recommendations to keep all employees safe.

“Dr. Milton is still our Health Authority. We maintain jurisdiction here in our community, but it is a very collaborative effort. Their main focus is, again, the beef packing plants. So with regard to the larger community effort, that effort is still maintained by the Public Health Department,” said Casie Stoughton, director of the Amarillo Public Health Department.

As the Texas National Guard increases testing, they will be doing all COVID-19 testing at the Tyson plant. Those tests will be sent to Austin and will take between two to four days for results.

“The more testing that we do, the more positives we’re going to pick up, but that’s the value of having that testing, is to know where there are hotspots, and isolate those individuals, and mitigate spread.” said Stoughton

City Manager Jared Miller explained, emergency calls are still down from last year but are starting to go back up.

“Public safety calls seem to be trending up compared to our normal average. This is expected as businesses reopen. We still ask everyone to minimize your travels as much as possible when not going to essential or reopened businesses,” said Miller.

Amarillo hospitals now have a good supply of personal protective equipment. Northwest Texas Hospital will resume elective surgeries on Monday, May 11.

“Asking patients to come, typically about three days, before their scheduled procedure for a COVID-19 test, we will perform that test. During those three days from the test to the scheduled procedure, they must quarantine themselves. No exposure during that time, certainly when they come for the scheduled procedure. We will screen them for any symptoms or signs that are consistent or possibly consistent with COVID-19,” said Dr. Brian Weis, Chief Medical Officer at Northwest Texas Hospital.

BSA is considering doing elective surgeries in their off site surgery centers next week.

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