As you know I practice Direct Primary Care in a private practice in Parker County, but I also work in urgent care in Palo Pinto County and for the past three days I have sent about 200 patients to get tested. In my opinion, most have COVID-19. The good thing is they seem to be younger patients and are recovering well. We did have two ICU patients, but both are doing well and just need some extra oxygen support, not intubation.
That said, I have seen anxiety and concerns in the community and in Facebook posts. And while I do not think we should go backwards, we need to be careful about the messaging going forward. With an increase in restrictions, I am concerned more patients will not be seen by their doctors. When they get seen after hospitals are open again, they will be very sick and could end up in ICU.
Currently, ICUs in Texas are probably at 75-85% full, and most cases are NOT COVID-19. Most are patients who have gotten so sick during the previous shutdown when they hadn’t seen anyone that they ended up in ICU.
But, cases are up. These are mostly healthy people, but they are also scared people. I believe that taking a pause for one to two weeks would have been OK, but not going backwards. Because those same scared people are also anxious about not having a job and not being able to provide for their families.
The messaging from leadership and the medical community should be clear: “Yes, we have increase in the cases but we do not have an increase in mortality.” We need to protect vulnerable populations, practice common sense and protect ourselves and our families by being aware of the risks while trying to live a normal life.
We need to stop fearing the disease, and instead respect it—and learn to live with it.
It is here to stay, but we should not allow it to take our freedom and liberties away. I am a legal immigrant to this country who lived under oppression while growing up; I am a mom of five and a school board member for Brock ISD. And I am a physician who loves medicine and my patients. It is the job of all of us to give our fellow Texans courage and confidence in how we respond to this threat. COVID-19 has taken a lot from all of us. We cannot allow it to take away our way of life, as well.
Respectfully, Dr. Kat Lindley
Katarina Lindley, D.O. FACOFP
President, Texas ACOFP
Vice President, Texas Osteopathic Medical Association