Lubbock confirms two new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday: 13 total cases in South Plains area

On Sunday, the city of Lubbock confirmed two new cases of the novel coronavirus. Katherine Wells, director of the Lubbock Health Department, said six cases of COVID-19 were identified in Lubbock over the weekend.

"All six of these cases resulted from the drive-thru testing that's been going on at [University Medical Center]," she said. "I am very pleased with how that testing has been working."

Two of these cases, which were made known during the conference and reported Sunday, consists of an individual that is 20 to 30-years-old and an individual over 60-years-old, according to information from the City of Lubbock. The investigation is complete for both of these cases.

There are now 10 cases in Lubbock County and three in Hockley County, bringing the total to 13 in the South Plains. One of the Lubbock cases, a man over the age of 60 who traveled out of state, was moved out of Lubbock’s jurisdiction to Hockley County’s jurisdiction.

"We've completed all but one of the case investigations," she said. "Many of the cases that we're finding our actually exposures to previously known cases."

There are two cases the health department is unable to associate with travel or known contact with another COVID-19 case, Wells said.

"And what this shows is that we're starting to see some community spread here in the Lubbock area," she said. "This makes it even more important for individuals to follow social distancing guidelines and also stay home when they're sick."

Regardless, turnaround times for testing results have been around 24 hours, Wells said. UMC staff has tested 455 individuals in the Lubbock community with about 30 tests awaiting results.

Regarding efforts to limit the spread of the virus, implementing a shelter-in-place was a plan discussed during the news conference.

Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope said Dallas will implement a shelter-in-place some time Monday.

"[Texas Gov. Greg Abbott] twice sort of dodged or kicked the can down the road a bit on doing a statewide shelter-in-place and suggested it needs to be done at the local community," he said. "Now, that is not where I believe we are today. However, I believe that the definition of essential services has been stretched a bit in our community."

Pope and a group of advisers will consider and clarify what services are deemed essential, he said.

"I'm not afraid to make that decision if we get to that point," he said regarding implementing a shelter-in-place for Lubbock. "I'd like to see our citizens take this more seriously."

There are plans for a Lubbock shelter-in-place, which is hypothetical, Pope said.

"But I don't think you should expect a shelter-in-place coming from me tomorrow," he said. "I think, first and foremost, I want to make sure we better define the emergency action that's in place."

Dr. Ronald Cook, local health authority, said if one has already been tested or shows symptoms of COVID-19, a common cold or any illness, he or she needs to stay home.

"And let me say a word to out employers here today. If you sent an employee to be tested, we do not have the resources to test them again to make sure that they're negative after so many days," he said. "Our resources are still limited. We will test the people that specifically need testing."

In addition to efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19, people's mental health during the pandemic also was addressed during the conference.

David Trotter, associate professor of clinical psychology at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, said there are a variety of symptoms of significant stress.

"It could be things like feeling anxious, worrying, fearful, even irritable and sad. Sometimes, we see behavioral changes, so difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite," he said. "With children, our kiddos, often times, they report a lot of physical symptoms. This could be things, like an upset tummy or a headache."

There are different ways a person can manage their stress or the stress of others around them, Trotter said. Limiting the amount of COVID-19 media coverage one is consuming, maintaining a positive outlook, exercising, keeping a steady daily routine and feeding one's soul by remaining spiritual and helping one's neighbors are ways he said people can be better mentally.