Caldwell clinic owner: Nearly all recent patients testing positive for COVID-19

Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 10:55 PM CDT
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CALDWELL, Texas (KBTX) - As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in the Brazos Valley, it is not just bigger cities trying to keep up with the increase.

Shirley Smith is a nurse practitioner and owner of JLYLE Medical Clinic in Caldwell. She says they have noticed a spike in recent weeks.

“We sample nearly everyone who comes in, and most everybody who comes in, who we sample, they are positive for COVID-19,” says Smith.

Smith says it has been like this since July. She says it is something they did not think would happen as local cases were decreasing before this surge.

“It went away for a little bit, and we thought we were on our way out of this pandemic,” said Smith. “But it is back again, and I am seeing them sicker and it doesn’t take as long for them to reveal the symptoms they have.”

Smith says she sees patients from all surrounding communities. On Wednesday, the Department of State Health Services reported 103 active cases of COVID-19 in Burleson County.

Smith says when COVID-19 patients come to small town rural clinics like hers, there is not much they can do that involves critical intervention to help. She has to lean on the bigger hospital systems like Baylor Scott & White Health and St. Joseph Health in Bryan and College Station.

Recently, leaders from both hospitals voiced concern over the recent spike of COVID-19 patients. It is not just Brazos County residents in those hospitals. It’s patients like Smith’s being transferred there.

“I call St. Joseph Emergency Room. I talk to the doctors and nurses there when I can to let them know when someone is coming. I also do the same thing with my friends at Baylor Scott & White,” said Smith.

Smith says she and her three-person staff are being overworked, but it is what they need to do in order to help their neighbors and keep the community healthy. In the meantime, she hopes community members will do their part, too, to help stop the spread.

“Wash your hands. Take the COVID-19 vaccine if it is right for you, and also if you are sick, stay home. Don’t go to work because you are getting everyone else sick,” said Smith.

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