EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Every week, anchor Mauricio Casillas will speak to Dr. Edward Michelson. Dr. Michelson is the chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine for Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.
Here's the Q&A for Jan. 21:
Mauricio Casillas (KVIA): How has this past week gone for you?
Dr. Edward Michelson (Chairman, Dept. of Emergency medicine TTUHSC El Paso): "This past week has been a good one for El Paso. One of the notable things is that we've now hit over 1,000 patients who have been infused with bamlanivimab. Which is the monoclonal antibody for covid-19 and that program continues."
Casillas: Can hospitals handle the current number of patients?
Dr. Michelson: "Hospitals currently are able to handle the current number of Covid-19 patients. But, I'm a little concerned because that number has been creeping up in the last week."
Casillas: What should people at home be doing right now?
Dr. Michelson: "Wear their masks, avoid getting together -- particularly having meals with multiple family members inside. They need to practice social distancing. Although we're starting to vaccinate, and we're doing really well on getting people vaccinated, it's going to be many more months until enough people are vaccinated that we can change our behavior."
Casillas: What is the most eye-opening thing you’ve seen this week?
Dr. Michelson: "Well one of the encouraging things to me in the past week is that we were anticipating closing down the infusion program at the convention center on the 31st of this month. I just learned that we have permission to continue our program so it will extend into February. We will be able to get more doses of the monoclonal antibody and we'll continue to provide that treatment."
Casillas: What is your prediction for next week?
Dr. Michelson: "My prediction for next week is that we're going to see a little more of the same. I'm really encouraged by the new administration in D.C. and by the emphasis they've placed on getting resources out to all the communities so that we can really ramp up vaccinations even more."
Casillas: What is giving you hope at this time?
Dr. Michelson: "In most influenza seasons, January is the peak of the time we see patients admitted with complications of influenza. This year, cases are down 99%."
Casillas: What is your message to the Borderland?
Dr. Michelson: "We're all fatigued from Covid-19. We all wish it was done already but it's not. It's going to be with us for at least another six months. We just have to maintain doing safe practices."