Earlier today, United Regional Health Care System in Wichita Falls issued what some are calling an ominous statement and an impassioned plea for those in the North Texas area who have not yet been vaccinated to seriously consider doing so.

According to their statement there are currently 62 COVID-19 patients in-house at United Regional today, the 19th of August. There were only 18 in-house on July 19th, and 7 on June 19th. 90% of those hospitalized since the beginning of July have not been vaccinated.

This dramatic increase in cases that were severe enough to warrant hospital stays rather than recovering and quarantining at home prompted United Regional to plea for the entire region to get vaccinated in a Facebook post earlier today.


The full text of their statement goes on to state that these are not media-hyped reports, these are simply the local numbers of infections and serious cases.

Over the past two months, United Regional’s COVID inpatient census has been steadily rising. As of this morning, August 19, there were 62 COVID positive patients in-house, compared with 18 on July 19, and 7 on June 19. The overwhelming majority of hospitalized patients in this new wave are unvaccinated.
“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 current COVID patients at United Regional are younger, and sicker, than those in 2020. Further, they are staying longer, which affects staffing, resources, and overall bed capacity.
“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.” Yesterday, United Regional denied the transfer of a (non-COVID) heart patient from one of the smaller hospitals in the region due to lack of critical care capabilities. That hospital then contacted 15 hospitals throughout the state, none of which could accept their patient.
In addition to hospitalizations, volumes continue increasing within the Emergency Department and URPG clinic sites. As an example, on Monday morning by 10 a.m., URPG CarePlus had seen 72 patients – almost triple the normal volume, with a high percentage of those patients exhibiting COVID symptoms.
Please continue to be attentive to appropriate preventive measures. If you have not yet been vaccinated, please consider doing so as soon as possible. The vaccine, although not 100% protective, has proven to be highly safe and effective at virus prevention.

Choosing to be vaccinated or not is up to the individual but all of us need to be aware of the current local situation and the direction that it is trending.

We all remember the frightening pictures that were painted with overwhelmed hospital staff and tents set up in the parking lots for the overflow of patients that were painted when the pandemic first began. We don't want to find ourselves in that situation now.

Do your own research. make up your own mind. Stay as safe and healthy as you can.

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