Media Coverage for January 2021

Week of January 24 to January 31

El Paso sees surge in telemedicine visits during pandemic due to increased convenience

KVIA - Jan. 29, 2021

During the pandemic, many services have become more accessible from home. A local physician says telemedicine visits have surged over the past few months. These visits include medical appointments done by phone or video chat. Dr. Diego De La Mora, the Chief Health Informatics Officers at Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso, says their clinics had only about one to three telemedicine appointments before the pandemic began. When the pandemic first hit, that number jumped to nearly 1,000 per week.

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Health expert suggest to avoid rapid testing

CBS 4 - Jan. 27, 2021

There are two types of COVID-19 tests that are currently used in El Paso. PCR tests are used at University Medical Center and drive-thru sites for the city. “It’s a much more complicated test but it’s very sensitive and it’s very accurate.” Said the chair of Emergency Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso Dr. Edward Michelson. Then there are rapid antigen tests like the ones used at school rapid testing sites.

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COVID-19 safety precautions help limit flu outbreaks, El Paso doctor says

CBS 4 - Jan. 27, 2021

“The protection that we're using for the coronavirus are the same that we use for influenza and since we know that influenza is not as transmissible as coronavirus, then we know that the extra protection is really making an impact on the number of influenza cases,” Dr. Armando Meza, the chief infectious disease specialist at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center said. Meza said the increased effort people are taking this year to wash their hands, social distance, and wear masks is something that helps contain the flu as well as COVID-19.

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TTUHSC El Paso Front-Line Heroes discuss receiving COVID-19 Vaccine

El Paso Herald-Post - Jan. 27, 2021

Host Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A., president of TTUHSC El Paso and dean of the Foster School of Medicine, updated the public on the university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also welcomed four panelists who shared their experience receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and answered commonly asked questions about the disease. The discussion – Tech Table Talk, a new community-based discussion series from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso – was livestreamed on the university’s Facebook page, and a recording is now available for viewing online.

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‘Anxiety and fear is normal’: El Paso psychologist offers tips for parents as children head back to campus

KVIA - Jan. 27, 2021

A local psychologist said it's normal for students to feel afraid or anxious about the transition, and she said there are ways for parents to help. "I think a little bit of anxiety and fear is normal and that's okay," said Dr. Melanie Longhurst with Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso. "Remain calm, explain what we know with transparency and at a developmentally appropriate level. Let them know what they can expect. Let them know what may be different and then establish some kind of routine."

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¿Qué tan rápido necesito la segunda dosis de la vacuna contra el COVID-19?

Univision 26 - Jan. 26, 2021

Estudios revelan que la vacuna de Pfizer tiene el 52% de efectividad después de la primera dosis, sin embargo expertos médicos reiteran la importancia de recibir la segunda vacuna para que no se pierda la eficacia. “Cuando tenemos la inmunidad de anticuerpos que son los protectores y que inmediatamente se generan, hay otra barrera que es relacionada a las células de memoria de las defensas que son generadas con la segunda dosis y que se refuerzan para cuando el individuo se exponga al virus y sea eliminado de las células rápidamente. Entonces la segunda dosis es vital para que el efecto protector sea logrado en los pacientes”, dijo el Dr. Armando Meza, director de enfermedades infecciosas en Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. 

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'I didn't expect to be sick': El Paso woman describes COVID-19 vaccine symptoms

FOX 29 San Antonio - Jan. 25, 2021

Dr. Armando Meza at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso said symptoms aren’t uncommon, especially after the second dose. “It should not last more than one to two days and they can be easily controlled with medication and rest,” Meza said. James is back to feeling healthy again and said that she’ll continue living with precautions to make sure she stays that way.

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Over 13,000 El Pasoans now fully vaccinated against virus

KVIA - Jan. 25, 2021

Health experts urge the public not to relax safety measures after being vaccinated, especially after the first dose. The Chief of Infectious Diseases at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso said individuals only receive half the protection from the vaccine after their first dose. “The booster effect of the second dose is so important that it’s not to be missed because it’s just not going to give you the effectiveness,” Dr. Armando Meza said. “That’s what you are going to get if you are going to get another dose.” 

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Previous Weeks in January

Se prepara El Pao vs. virus ‘reforzado’

El Diario - Jan. 23, 2021

Los expertos médicos de El Paso están comenzando a ver un aumento en los casos de Covid-19 tras las reuniones de las fiestas decembrinas y tendrán que monitorear si el aumento es inusualmente alto, una señal que podría significar que una variante ha llegado al área, dijo el doctor Armando Meza, jefe de enfermedades infecciosas en Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso. Las infecciones por Covid-19 en El Paso han aumentado desde las vacaciones de Navidad y Año Nuevo, pero se mantienen por debajo del aumento de otoño, según un análisis de El Paso Matters de los datos del Departamento de Salud Pública de El Paso.

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New variant could cause more COVID-19 problems in El Paso, experts say

El Paso Matters - Jan. 21, 2021

The more contagious variant of COVID-19 will likely reach El Paso — which could send the city toward another deadly surge in cases and hospitalizations, medical experts say. More contagious COVID-19 variants, while not proven to cause more severe illness, could increase cases of the deadly virus and further strain the health-care system. El Paso medical experts are beginning to see a rise in COVID-19 cases from holiday gatherings and will have to monitor whether the spike is unusually high — a sign that could mean a variant has reached the area, said Dr. Armando Meza, chief of infectious diseases at Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso.

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COVID-19 information

YouTube - Jan. 20, 2021

A partnership between Workforce Solutions Borderplex, TTUHSC El Paso and UMC used government grant funding to employ health care students and unemployment claimants COVID-19 vaccine program that's saving lives. Partnerships like these are a win-win for the health care industry and the community in the battle against the pandemic.

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TTUHSC El Paso awarded NIH Funds to explore effects of COVID-19 on stomach, GI tract

El Paso Herald-Post - Jan. 19, 2021

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso is one of six research centers tasked by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study how COVID-19 may have long-term effects on the stomach and other regions of the GI tract. The goal is to determine if COVID-19 affects the stomach of patients who already have impaired stomach functions, specifically by a condition called gastroparesis. As a result, patients who report gastrointestinal symptoms, including stomach issues, will be screened for any COVID-19 history. Overall, the NIH has awarded $352,133 to this timely project, with $26,262 for TTUHSC El Paso.

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Nursing school enrollment in El Paso sees dramatic increase during pandemic

KVIA - Jan. 17, 2021

As medical centers remain in need of backup all across the country, the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso has a brand new class of students officially entering their first semester of nursing school and getting one step closer to helping in the fight against Covid-19. “We have welcomed them to the profession today by giving them their white coats so they will have the symbol of being a trusted professional," said Stephanie Woods, Dean of the Hunt School of Nursing at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso.

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Advierten médicos sobre nueva cepa del COVID-19 detectada en Nuevo México

Univision 26 - Jan. 13, 2021

El primer caso detectado en Estados Unidos ocurrió el 29 de diciembre del 2020 en el estado de Colorado y este miércoles a través de un comunicado de prensa, autoridades de salud de Nuevo México confirmaron que un hombre de alrededor de 60 años que recientemente viajó al Reino Unido se convirtió en el primer caso de la variante B117 a nivel estatal. “Normalmente cuando hacemos la prueba de PCR no se hace la secuencia del gen completo. Es decir solo se hace una especie de muestreo de un material genético que nos dice que tiene el paciente el virus, pero no sabemos qué tanto por ejemplo virus con la mutación existe aquí en el Paso, pero eso aumenta el riesgo que esto en un momento dado se pueda salir de control”, aseguró el doctor Armando Meza, director de Enfermedades Infecciosas de la Universidad de Salud y Ciencias de Texas Tech (TTUHSC).

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‘It gave me peace of mind’: El Paso has used more than half of its initial supply of antibody treatment for COVID-19 patients

KVIA - Jan. 13, 2021

The treatment works to help a patient's immune system better fight the virus. It involves an IV infusion and takes a few hours start to finish. The Chief of Emergency Medicine at University Medical Center said that could be why some communities struggle to use their supply. "'I think there's logistics issues with any treatment, particularly infusions," said Dr. Edward Michelson, who is also Chairman of Emergency Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. "I mean look at some of the difficulties we've had getting the vaccine pushed out as quickly as its available. A vaccination takes only a matter of about 30 seconds. Patients get observed for 15 minutes. The infusion involves starting an IV, it's a one hour treatment, so it's a lot more complicated than for instance just setting up to get a vaccine."

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Voice of the Public - Dr. Edward Michelson

KRWG - Jan. 8, 2021

Dr. Edward Michelson, Chair of the Emergency Department at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso and member of El Paso's COVID task force, discusses the city's Fall surge, treatments, vaccines and new strains of the virus.

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Trabajadores esenciales de UTEP reciben vacuna Moderna

El Heraldo de Juarez - Jan. 8, 2021

Aproximadamente 100 miembros de los programas de prueba proactiva y vacunación contra el coronavirus de la Universidad de Texas en El Paso recibieron la vacuna Moderna Covid-19, favorecido a la asociación continua de la Universidad con el Centro de Ciencias de la Salud de la Universidad Texas Tech El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) .

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Donation from TTUHSC El Paso helps Emergence administer vaccine to Adults with disabilities

El Paso Herald-Post - Jan. 7, 2021

Beginning Thursday, officials with Emergence Health Network (EHN), together with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, will administer COVID-19 vaccines to several EHN clients who might not otherwise have access to the vaccine. According to officials, adults with disabilities are more likely to have underlying medical conditions that could put them at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. “We are excited about this partnership because in the end, it’s our EHN clients with intellectual/developmental disabilities who will benefit. Access to health care is often a challenge for this population, but the donation will ensure they are protected as well,” said Kristi Daugherty, Emergence Health Network CEO.

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Medical staff at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center of El Paso to get second COVID-19 vaccine

KFOX - Jan. 6, 2021

Doctors and nurses at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center of El Paso are beginning to receive their second doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week. El Paso remains one of the top Texas counties when it comes to vaccinating a high number of health care workers. Dr. Ed Michelson said the faster the state distributes doses to El Paso facilities, the faster hospitals and clinics can vaccinate the public. He explained the state is expected to organize another approximately 13,000 doses to be distributed in the coming week or two.

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Individuals with disabilities will soon be able to get COVID-19 vaccine

KTSM - Jan. 6, 2021

COVID-19 vaccines will soon be administered to individuals with intellectual and development disabilities thanks to a donation from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. Emergence Health Network (EHN), together with TTUHSC El Paso, will administer the COVID-19 vaccines to several EHN clients who might not otherwise have access to the vaccine. “We are excited about this partnership, because in the end, it’s our EHN clients with intellectual/developmental disabilities who will benefit,” said Emergence Health Network CEO Kristi Daugherty. “Access to health care is often a challenge for this population, but the donation will ensure they are protected as well.”

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