Health officials ‘saddened’ by first Wichita Co. COVID-19 death

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Wichita Falls-Wichita County Health Director Lou Kreidler and MSU Medical Director Dr. Keith Williamson said they are saddened by this and now more than ever, social distancing and remaining vigilant against this COVID-19 fight is crucial.

“It was just a shock, the numbers have been trending down and the hospital census has been going down and I was so hopeful that we’d make it through this crisis without anyone dying in town,” Dr. Williamson said.

“Our staff have worked closely case managing this individual and so it’s especially difficult for the staff as they mourn with the family,” Kreidler said.

The patient, who had underlying health conditions, was diagnosed in Wichita County and had been hospitalized since April 2.

The patient was over the age of 70 and had been previously exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case.

They were over 70-years-old, but Kreidler said age isn’t important here.

“Our average age range for those hospitalized has been in the 40’s and many of them don’t have any underlying health conditions so I don’t think people should assume just because they’re younger and don’t have any underlying health conditions that this can’t be a very serious illness for them,” Kreidler said.

While fears remain high, Kreidler and Dr. Williamson said it’s important to stick with shelter-in-place practices even as the numbers go down.

“You can’t extrapolate a great deal from those low numbers and there’s probably a lot of people in the community that are immune,” Dr. Williamson said.

Dr. Williamson said there are four things that need to happen before the community can begin to get back to normal.

The first being two weeks of a steady decline in numbers and the second there has to be a way to test a lot of people.

“Number 3, the health department has to be able to keep up with all the contact tracing and number four the hospital’s resources have to have enough spare capacity to take care of a surge,” Dr. Williamson said.

With one death in our area, officials and the community work to make it the last.

Kreidler and Dr. Williamson said their thoughts go out to the family and that they are mourning with them.

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