LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Gov. Greg Abbott praised city and county leaders and warned residents about the danger of “COVID Fatigue” during his visit to Lubbock on Thursday.
Abbott praised specific measures, attributing Lubbock's success to contact tracing and testing capacity.
Abbott also warned about COVID Fatigue, people tired of the disruption in their lives getting careless about basic precautions.
Gov. Abbott said, “COVID-19 still exists in Lubbock, it still exists in Texas, it still exists globally, and if people do not continue to, in a very disciplined way, maintain the highest level of standards, what you will see is an acceleration of the expansion of COVID-19.”
Abbott said people need to be "extra vigilant" as we prepare to reopen schools.
Abbott reminded parents that the occasions most likely to spread COVID-19 will not be school itself, but related events that happen after school and on weekends.
"People need to maintain vigilance, even when just gathering with family members," Abbott said.
Abbott cited doctors across Texas who say residents wearing masks is one of the primary factors slowing down the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
Abbott reminded everyone that we're heading into flu season, and that will mean more people catching viruses and needing access to hospitals.
Abbott warned about the approach of Labor Day, asking people to "not let their guard down" during the Labor Day holiday as they did during Memorial Day.
The governor said other cities have had great success with convalescent blood plasma treatment, taking plasma from people who have had COVID-19 and using it to transfer antibodies to people fighting the disease.
He called upon people who have recovered from COVID to consider donating blood, wherever they may be.
He thanked Texas Tech University for playing a “pivotal role” in state efforts to fight the disease, through the creation of viral transport media.
"It immediately and substantially increased our ability to increase testing across the state of Texas," Abbott said.
Abbott thanked doctors, nurses, first responders, all the health care professionals, who are "putting their lives on the line every day" helping people in ways that are "incomprehensible to most of us."
"We need to let them know the depth of our gratitude for what they have done to step up and be the true first responders in this health care pandemic," Abbott said.
Abbott thanked everyone in the region for their collaboration during the pandemic, saying “The region of Lubbock is far more successful against COVID-19 because of that level of collaboration that includes the leadership of Mayor Pope.”
Pope praised the efforts of Dr. Ron Cook and the cooperation of Covenant, UMC and Texas Tech.
"The people of West Texas are, if nothing else, creative and resilient," Pope said. "The people that settled this part of the world were not soft. They were tough people. They found a way to make it happen. That spirit persists today."
"That is what will continue to let us be successful," Pope said. "We can't let our guard down."
Pope mentioned the importance of restarting football, of getting people back to work and reopening the local economy.
Lubbock County Judge Curtis Parrish talked about the decision to close nursing homes in response to the surge of cases.
Parrish said it's been difficult to have the nursing home population isolated, but insisted that it was "the right thing to do."
Parrish said with schools reopening, "We are doing everything in our power to make sure we continue to operate safely, that we protect the most vulnerable of us, to make sure that when we do have little outbreaks, and we know we're going to have those...that we're able to respond immediately, sensibly, reasonably, and know that our top priority here is to keep the citizens safe."
The governor’s office released this statement on Thursday afternoon:
The Governor has surged a variety of resources across Lubbock and the Panhandle to help combat COVID-19. Governor Abbott facilitated robust testing across the region, collecting 11,923 test samples over 73 days in 29 locations, including 9,784 test samples over 47 days in 9 locations in Lubbock County. Additionally, the State of Texas has facilitated testing in 22 counties for residents and staff at 21 nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities, as well as provided disinfection missions at nursing home facilities. The Texas Department of State Health Services have also distributed cases of the antiviral drug remdisvir to hospitals in Lubbock.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management has distributed more than 3 million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to 22 counties across the Panhandle, including 780,228 masks, over 944,745 pairs of gloves, and 67,712 face shields in Lubbock County alone. This distribution also includes over 1,356,815 pieces of PPE for independent school districts across the region.