Basketball tournament may have contributed to the spread of COVID-19 in the region

Hockley County Judge Sharla Baldridge has confirmed that a report from the Texas Department of Health Services states that a March 7 high school regional basketball tournament at South Plains College may be a contributing factor to the spread of COVID-19 in the region.

"According to the Texas Department of State Health Services they have been able to identify a possible common event with some of the confirmed cases in our region who attended an event in Levelland on March 7th, said event being a regional boys basketball tournament held at South Plains College. At this time this event does not seem to be a common attribute in any of Hockley County’s confirmed cases.

"The Health Department will continue their investigations in our Hockley County cases and I will share any pertinent information that I can share with the public, as I receive it.

"With much appreciated assistance from Congressman Jodey Arrington via a conference call on March 24th , I am now able to obtain more information that I can release to our concerned citizens as it is provided to me. Congressman Arrington has been essential in aiding me in getting help in our county and I would like to encourage people to call his Lubbock District Office at 806-763-1611 with any issues or concerns.

"To put this into perspective, as of March 24th our neighboring Lubbock County has a population of approximately 13 times the population of Hockley County and at this time has 14 confirmed cases while Hockley County has 5 confirmed cases.

"I cannot emphasize enough to our citizens that we must be united and diligent as a county in the battle against the spread of COVID-19. Without complete cooperation and compliance with the safety guidelines set out by CDC and strict compliance with Governor Abbott’s Executive Orders by everyone in Hockley County, we cannot flatten the curve and protect our citizens," Baldridge said in a statement.

Teams and hundreds of fans from Vega, Texline, Gruver and Nazareth attended the tournament at South Plains College. Several cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in counties where the schools are located.

All five of the COVID-19 cases in Castro County are located in Nazareth. Some of the Nazareth patients attended the basketball tournament.

High Plains Pundit has reached out to other area officials for comment. We will update this story with those comments as they become available.