City representatives continue to urge COVID vigilance during Thanksgiving holiday

City of Lubbock news conference, Nov. 24

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - During a news conference Tuesday morning, representatives with the City of Lubbock again urged residents to avoid large gatherings during the Thanksgiving holiday.

The discussion comes as Lubbock reports more than 5,300 active cases of coronavirus and a total of 307 deaths.

Lubbock has been dealing with a rapid increase in new cases and hospitalizations since the end of October. The number of hospitalized patients has stayed around 300 for more than one week.

Panelists during Tuesday’s news conference were Katherine Wells, the director of Public Health; Dr. Ron Cook, the local health authority; and Dan Pope, Lubbock’s mayor.

Here are the highlights from that news conference.

Katherine Wells:

There is a plan in place to distribute any potential COVID-19 vaccines. The City of Lubbock Health Department has picked 48 entities to help distribute any vaccines.

The surge in cases reported in Lubbock County is not because of super-spreader events but because of people not following public health guidelines.

The county is likely going to go past a total of 30,000 cumulative cases of coronavirus by today.

”We continue to see 500 cases a day. And we need to make sure that the decisions that we make through the holidays don’t do anything to increase the number of daily cases that we continue to see,” Well said.

Because there will be some testing sites closed in Lubbock, Wells also said anyone who is feeling sick should stay home.

Dr. Ron Cook:

There are still concerns that an increase in cases will continue to lead to a decrease in the number of available hospital beds. There is still an expectation that the number of hospital beds available in the county could still go up-and-down.

“(We) cannot tolerate and handle any increase in the cases that we’ve already had coming in,” Cook said.

Dan Pope:

The rate of positive COVID cases has slightly declined from last week. Some changes to capacity in local sports venues may help make that decrease more drastic.

Since last week, as well, morgue space in the Lubbock-area has freed up a bit. A mobile morgue trailer that was on standby has since been dispatched to El Paso, another COVID hotspot.

Pope also added, the timeline is still unclear to put a definitive date on when Lubbock could expect to see any doses of potential COVID vaccines. But it is possible those could come around the second week of December.

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