Lubbock now has 5 confirmed COVID-19 cases

With five COVID-19 cases in Lubbock, city officials addressed efforts to prevent the spread of the virus and potential community exposure locations.

To update the public on new COVID-19 cases in Lubbock, officials with the City of Lubbock hosted a news conference Friday evening regarding prevention efforts and an updated disaster declaration.

Katherine Wells, director of the Lubbock Health Department, said the health department received notifications two new COVID-19 cases in Lubbock Friday.

"The first one was a 30 to 40-year-old who traveled outside of the country," she said. "This individual is actually identified through our case investigation of case number three."

Case number three is described as a 40 to 50-year-old from Lubbock who traveled outside of the country, according to information from the City of Lubbock.

Through contact investigation, which involves interviewing people who have been in contact with an infected individual, Wells said the health department was bale to find the COVID-19 case in the community.

"We also received, later in the day, a second case of a 15 to 25-year-old," she said, "and the case investigation is currently ongoing. However, we have identified multiple areas where this person has visited."

These possible community exposure locations, Wells said, includes:

March 14 Sunset Church of Christ — Graduation Ceremony

March 15 Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport between 8:45 pm to 9:15 pm

March 15 Roses Café at 4th and Quaker from 9:30 pm until close (11:00 pm)

March 16 Walmart Frankford and Loop 289 between 9:30 am and 11:00 am

March 16 Hobby Lobby 76th Street between 9:30 am to 11:00 am

March 16 Market Street Quaker and 19th Street between 9:30 am and 11:00 am

March 16 Dollar General 5004 34th Street between 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm

"I do want to make a couple of comments that all of these retail establishments or grocery stores hall are doing lots of work to that they clean high-touch points regularly," she said."

The fact that these locations are at risk show why it is important for people who are sick to stay home, Wells said.

Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope said not surprised new cases arose in Lubbock.

Regarding the executive order Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's signed Wednesday, Pope said he will issue a third declaration of disaster for Lubbock that falls in line with the executive order.

The executive order's items, which go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Friday, include:

Limiting gatherings to no more than 10 people, which supersedes the previous 50 person limit set by the Lubbock City Council.

All restaurants, gyms, bars, food courts and massage parlors will not be open. However, locations that feature drive-thru, pick-up and delivery options will still be able and are encouraged to utilize those.

Visits at nursing or retirement homes, unless it is absolutely necessary in order to provide critical assistance, are prohibited.

All schools will remain closed for the two week period.

The executive order stays in effect until April 3, at which Abbott will have the option of extending or relaxing the aforementioned items.

In addition to updating the city disaster declaration to present these items, Pope said the declaration does prohibit people from visiting grocery stores, gas stations, parks and banks so long as precautions are taken.

"This declaration does not mandate sheltering in place or does it restrict any domestic travel," he said. "Our critical infrastructure remains operational. Government entities and businesses will continue working and providing essential services."

For offices and workplaces that will remain open, Pope said they need follow these guidelines and practice good hygiene.

The declaration, which is subject to renewal by the Lubbock City Council, will be presented at the next regularly scheduled city council meeting on March 24.

Starting today, Pope said the Lubbock Public Health Department received testing results from local providers using private labs. Results from private labs are reported to a local provider who then reports the results to the health department.

"The providers must report any positive results to the public health department," he said. "Then, we must verify the patient, notify the state before we can make an announcement."