TMA Urges Governor to Allow Local Mask, Vaccination Decisions

A Message from the TMA President

As physicians across the state toil against the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas Medical Association leaders met with Gov. Greg Abbott’s office [on August 20] to ask for greater flexibility at the local level to respond to and slow the surge and its emotional and physical impacts on you and the health care system. 

As this latest wave has shown, we are seeing many more patients who are younger and sicker requiring hospitalization and intensive care, the vast majority of whom are unvaccinated. This is particularly concerning for kids under the age of 12 who do not yet have access to a vaccine. 

Because all disasters are local – and because so many of you have reached out to us – the TMA Board of Trustees, in an emergency meeting last Sunday, unanimously decided we needed to take action to reach out to the governor. 

On Friday, I led a meeting with the governor’s chief of staff, Luis Saenz, and deputy chief of staff Garland Pate. Joining me in the virtual meeting were TMA President-Elect Gary Floyd, MD; TMA Board of Trustees Chair Richard W. Snyder II, MD; TMA Board of Trustees Vice Chair G. Ray Callas, MD; and TMA Executive Vice President and CEO Michael J. Darrouzet. 

Our request to the governor on behalf of the TMA Board of Trustees: Please allow all institutions – including schools, school districts, hospitals, health care facilities, medical schools, and medical centers, regardless of funding source – to make local, independent decisions regarding vaccinations and the use of masks, preferably in consultation with physicians in those communities, and always using evidence-based data to inform their decisions. 

The lengthy discussion underscored the need for physicians and state leadership to continue educating Texans about the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and to address vaccine hesitancy. 

TMA understands and appreciates all you are doing during this difficult time to address the needs of your communities and your patients. We are taking steps to ensure your viability, resiliency, and knowledge of the current crisis. 

Please continue to share your stories, issues, and concerns. And we will always be keeping you abreast of the association’s advocacy activities in Texas Medicine Today and through the COVID-19 Resource Center.


Sincerely,

E. Linda Villarreal, MD
President
Texas Medical Association

North Central Texas COVID-19 Regional Infusion Center Opens in Fort Worth

Today, a COVID-19 Regional Infusion Center offering the monoclonal antibody treatment Regeneron – COV (Casirivimab plus Imdevimab) opened in Fort Worth. According to the Infusion Center Info Sheet, “[t]his site will accept patient referrals from healthcare providers across TSAs C, D, and E to help administer COVID therapeutics quickly and safely with the goal of preventing patients from needing hospitalization.”

Referrals are required for treatment. To see if your patients qualifies, check the North Central Texas COVID-19 Regional Infusion Info Sheet. If they are eligible, you can complete the referral by filling out this form and sending in in by fax (210-208-5295) or email (InfusionReferral@bcfs.net).

Walk-up COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic for the Fridays in August

Today and on Friday, August 27, you can receive a free COVID-19 vaccine from Tarrant County Public Health at Sundance Square Plaza Pavilion. All three vaccines will be available.

August 20 hours: 11am-8pm

August 27 hours: 11am-6pm

You can call Tarrant County Public Health’s COVID-19 hotline for more information at 817-248-6299.

We Might be Done With COVID-19, But It Is Not Done With Us

A message to the community from Tarrant County physicians

The current surge in COVID-19 cases in the Tarrant County area is having serious consequences that could impact patient outcomes.

  • Hospitals are currently at, or over, their staffing capacity with very few open ICU beds available across Tarrant County.
  • Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are straining to meet the overwhelming needs in the hospitals.
  • COVID-19 hospitalizations aren’t just a problem of the unvaccinated, they also strain the resources that are needed to treat other medical conditions and emergencies.

To avoid this, we urge the community to recognize this current crisis and take the simple and familiar steps that are proven to be effective against the spread of COVID-19.

  • We must continue to wear our masks, wash our hands, and be cautious about how we gather.
  • Because the Delta variant is the most contagious variant yet and has the potential for spread by both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, we encourage everyone to wear a mask in public while indoors and outdoors when unable to socially distance.
  • In addition, those who are not fully vaccinated should limit gathering with those outside of their household, especially while indoors.

Vaccination is the safest and most effective way by which we can protect ourselves from this deadly virus and get back to normal.

  • With over 350 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine given in the U.S., evidence of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines is overwhelming.
  • Being fully vaccinated results in an 8-fold reduction of having symptomatic COVID-19, a 25-fold reduction in being hospitalized and a 25-fold reduction in death from COVID-19. We strongly encourage every eligible person to get vaccinated – immediately.

As a community, we are at a tipping point. Let’s move in the right direction.

  • Each one of us can do our part to stop the spread, break the cycle, and defeat this pandemic once and for all. The choice is ours.

The Tarrant County Medical Society is a membership organization for the physicians serving the Tarrant County community. TCMS has been dedicated to the improvement of the art and science of medicine since 1903.

MedStar COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic

Come to MedStar’s headquarters
Get vaccinated by First Responders & view our
9-1-1 Communications Center

Friday, August 20, 2021
10am–4pm
2900 Alta Mere Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76116

18 years and older are eligible for 1st dose.
12 years and older are eligible for 2nd dose.
Parent must be present with a minor to receive the vaccine.

To register, scan the QR code, or go to
https://usa.quickscreen.health/medstar-vaccination#/screening.

Insured and uninsured welcome. If insured, please have insurance info ready when registering and present health insurance and identification for on-site vaccination.

Tarrant County COVID-19 Activity – 08/13/21

COVID-19 Positive cases: 283,762

COVID-19 related deaths: 3696

Recovered COVID-19 cases: 264,496

Data from Tarrant County Public Heath’s (TCPH) report of COVID-19 activity in Tarrant County, updated Friday, August 13, 2021. Find more COVID-19 information from TCPH here.

*These data are provisional and are subject to change at any time.

Deaths and recovered cases are included in total COVID-19 positive cases.

Tarrant County COVID-19 Activity – 08/05/21

COVID-19 Positive cases: 277,004

COVID-19 related deaths: 3669

Recovered COVID-19 cases: 261,968

Data from Tarrant County Public Heath’s (TCPH) report of COVID-19 activity in Tarrant County, updated Thursday, August 5, 2021. Find more COVID-19 information from TCPH here.

*These data are provisional and are subject to change at any time.

Deaths and recovered cases are included in total COVID-19 positive cases.

JPS is Bringing Back the COVID-19 Information Line

JPS Health Network is committed to helping ensure our community has the most up-to-date information about the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to an increase in the number of positive cases in Tarrant County, the Network is resuming a daily information phone line to provide facts about COVID-19 cases at JPS.

Starting today, information will be available as a recording updated every morning at 10 a.m. Callers can access the recorded message by calling 817-702-9500.

The recording will provide information including the number of inpatients who are undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at John Peter Smith Hospital. The phone line was in operation for about a year during the height of the pandemic, and was suspended in mid-June as the number of cases at the hospital dwindled.

Tarrant County COVID-19 Activity – 07/26/21

COVID-19 Positive cases: 270,663

COVID-19 related deaths: 3619

Recovered COVID-19 cases: 260,292

Data from Tarrant County Public Heath’s (TCPH) report of COVID-19 activity in Tarrant County, updated Monday, July 26, 2021. Find more COVID-19 information from TCPH here.

*These data are provisional and are subject to change at any time.

Deaths and recovered cases are included in total COVID-19 positive cases.

Tarrant County COVID-19 Activity – 07/12/21


COVID-19 Positive cases: 264,500

COVID-19 related deaths: 3598

Recovered COVID-19 cases: 258,820

Data from Tarrant County Public Heath’s (TCPH) report of COVID-19 activity in Tarrant County, updated Monday, July 12, 2021. Find more COVID-19 information from TCPH here.

*These data are provisional and are subject to change at any time.

Deaths and recovered cases are included in total COVID-19 positive cases.