Mayor Pope responds to Lubbock County Medical Society warning to enforce COVID-19 restrictions
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - An organization of professionals on the front lines of fighting COVID-19 in Lubbock has asked Mayor Pope to enforce the City’s ordinances and guidelines on masks and limiting social gatherings.
A new letter from the Lubbock County Medical Society 2020 President, Ashley Sturgeon, M.D., says medical workers in the area have seen the numbers of Covid patients steadily increase at University Medical Center and Covenant Health System, forcing the hospitals to convert more intensive care units into COVID units.
The letter cites a recent Johns Hopkins study garnering lots of attention when it showed Lubbock as “ranked among the top eight U.S. counties for average daily COVID-19 deaths.”
“We have over 23,000 total cases and more than 250 deaths - and those numbers are increasing every day. This week, because of the increasing number of patients who must be hospitalized and the decreasing number of available hospital and ICU beds, we are setting up tents at both UMC and Covenant. What this means for the Lubbock community is that space for non-COVID patients is extremely limited and therefore non-Covid medical issues cannot be treated and must be sent elsewhere. This often means that patients will choose not to come to the hospital and risk serious injury or consequences.”
The letter states they want to make clear that tents set up outside Covenant and UMC do not solve the area’s COVID problems.
The Medical Society’s letter asks for three measures to be implemented and enforced to mitigate the spread of COVID-19:
1) Limitation of gatherings to 10 or less
2) Masks to be worn properly at all times
3) Social distancing
“We, the undersigned healthcare professionals of Lubbock County Medical Society plead with the Mayor, the City Council and the Lubbock community to limit further gatherings, activities, and events to decrease Covid exposures and proactively support and protect those of us putting our lives on the front lines daily,” the letter reads. “The only way to mitigate this public health and infrastructural crisis is to put evidence based, scientifically rigorous protocols and procedures in place and enforce those policies.”
Lubbock’s medical professionals ask for members of the community to, “unite and honor our civic duty to one another, to protect those at greatest risk to Covid-19 exposure, and to support the healthcare professionals who will not waiver in their commitment to heal the sick and ease their pain.”
Read a full copy of the Medical Society’s letter below:
Mayor Pope sent this response on Friday:
“I have spoken with the president of the Lubbock County Medical Society, Dr. Ashley Sturgeon, regarding the group’s letter and concerns. We had a very fruitful and understanding conversation regarding the challenges Lubbock faces in the community and on the medical front lines regarding COVID-19. The City of Lubbock supports our healthcare workers, and champions the tireless, often thankless, job they do every day; and the fully taxing position they’ve been in for eight months. Dr. Sturgeon and I remain committed to providing for the safety of the citizens during the pandemic, and beyond. We both agree everyone should practice COVID-19 guidelines. We can slow the spread. We can help our dedicated healthcare workers and overtaxed systems. By doing so, these frontline workers will be able to better serve all of the medical needs of our citizens. Slowing the spread is simple, wear a mask, maintain social distancing and avoid gathering in large groups. It is in our hands. Our actions today will show benefits in two weeks. Help our healthcare workers help us.”
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