LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Lubbock County has two confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 coronavirus.
Mayor Dan Pope says he learned about the case shortly after 5 p.m and director of the local Health Department, Katherine Wells, around the same time.
“It’s something that we’ve been anticipating and probably around 5:30 or so, I received notification form our local response network lab that we have two locally confirmed cases of Coronavirus," said Wells, who said the tests were tested in Lubbock.
During a news conference held Tuesday evening, officials said one is a resident of Lubbock County and the other is from Hockley County. City leaders said both cases were travel-related.
“We were expecting this to happen. We were not looking forward to this, but we expected it to happen,” said Mayor Dan Pope.
“It’s here and we’re a little bit scared about it,” but he says “be rest assured, we are ready to go," said local healthy authority, Dr. Ron Cook. “We are strong West Texas People and we will weather this storm."
Dr. Cook and Katherine Wells of the Lubbock Regional Health Department said neither of the two confirmed people were hospitalized.
“They were never hospitalized. They met the criteria to be monitored and so we asked them to stay home and self monitor and so they met the criteria also to be tested," said Dr. Cook.
“They reported symptoms to the Health Department and we were able to facilitate the testing," said Wells.
Wells said they’re monitoring those who were in contact with the two people confirmed.
“We’re asking those individuals to refrain from going out in public, practice social distancing, and monitor themselves for fever or any signs or symptoms of coronavirus, and if you see any of those signs or symptoms, we would quickly get those individuals tested to see if they were also positive.” said Wells.
Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope said, “Investigations are underway" and he also said Coffee with the Mayor scheduled for tomorrow has been cancelled.
Lubbock City Manager Jarrett Atkinson said once there is a confirmed case, the city will release the information to the public within two hours.
Dr. Cook said hospitals in Lubbock including UMC, Covenant, and the Heart Hospital are ready to take on whatever may occur, adding it’s reassuring these two cases are travel-related and not community-acquired.
The Mayor says city officials may reconsider the 200 people in a gathering suggestion.
Dr. Cook says there is still a risk for those over 65 and with co-morbid cases like lung disease or uncontrolled diabetes.
The Mayor stressed if you’re working from home, make sure you are working from home and if you’re practicing social distancing, make sure you are being strict about it.
This press release from the City of Lubbock:
The City of Lubbock has confirmed its first two cases of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Both are traveler transmission cases, but not related to one another. The Department of Public Health is working to identify recent contacts of the patients as well. This step identifies potential exposure risks. The City of Lubbock Health Department and other response agencies are prepared and have employed standard response plans designed to address and resolve public health issues. The Department will continue monitoring individuals as indicated by the CDC. The Department’s disease surveillance team will continue working diligently to ensure the public remains at a low risk of contracting COVID-19. The City of Lubbock Health Department and our health care partners will continue to monitor COVID-19 in the Lubbock area to prepare for the possibility of more local cases. Please continue to follow proper hygiene recommendations and social distancing practices.A news conference with Director of Public Health Katherine Wells and Public Health Authority Dr. Ron Cook will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday evening, March 17, 2020, at the LFR Auditorium located at 1515 E. Ursuline.
Stay with KCBD for information as it develops.