As Lubbock County continues to see decreases in daily reported COVID-19 cases, members of the City of Lubbock are seeking ways to reopen businesses and plan for further recovery or potential resurgences in cases.
Officials with the city discussed current efforts and plans regarding COVID-19 during a virtual news conference Monday.
Katherine Wells, director of the Lubbock Health Department, said the city has seen significant decrease in reported COVID-19 cases. Lubbock currently has 499 confirmed cases, and since April 20, only 68 new cases have been reported.
Recoveries from COVID-19 also is increasing, Wells said.
“This is really good news, and it shows social distancing is working,” she said. “We need the community to continue to stay the course.”
In addition, Wells said a health department-operated drive-thru testing site will open Wednesday at the Patterson Library located at 1836 Parkway Drive. The clinic will be open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with appointments being required.
One needs to call the health department at 806-775-2933 to make an appointment, Wells said. Those seeking an appointment also must meet certain criteria: one must have symptoms of COVID-19, have been around an individual positive for COVID-19 or is a healthcare worker or person that works with high-risk groups.
The site will accept insurance if one has it, Wells said. One should have his or her insurance card ready when making appointment.
Despite decreases in daily reported cases and a new testing site, Dr. Ronald Cook, local health authority, said people still need to be careful as the city does not want a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.
Along with people and businesses practicing proper hygiene and social distancing practices, Cook said there are bad players that do not practice these precautions and, sometimes, force employees to return to work even if they are ill. A person should not go back to work unless they test negative for COVID-19.
Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope said for those who are pressured to go back to work despite being sick, one can call the health department at 806-775-2933 or the Lubbock City Council office at 806-775-2024.
Regarding current efforts, Pope said the city continues to analyze three metrics regarding COVID-19: hospital capacity, new daily cases and active cases.
Hospital capacity remains strong, and total active cases have remained flat under 300 cases, Pope said.
“I think very good news when it comes to data,” he said.
Along with data focusing on healthcare, officials also discussed data related to public safety.
For this year’s first quarter crime trends, which consists of any day from Jan. 1 to March 31, Lubbock Police Department Chief Floyd Mitchell said there were 1,499 crimes against persons in 2020 versus 1,485 in 2019. There were 3,647 crimes against property in 2020 versus 3,348 in 2019.
Although, during the first two weeks of Lubbock’s disaster declaration, March 17-31, Mitchell said there were 236 crimes against persons in 2020 versus 304 in 2019. There were 507 crimes against property in 2020 versus 639 in 2019.
Regarding first quarter domestic violence calls for service, Mitchell said there 3,830 incidents in 2020 versus 3,984 in 2019.
During the first quarter of the year, Mitchell said there were 1,228 incidents in 2020 versus 1,203 in 2019 for domestic violence crimes against persons. For domestic crimes against property, there were 140 incidents in 2020 versus 124 in 2019.
From March 17 to April 23, Mitchell said the domestic crimes against persons were 490 incidents in 2020 versus 590 in 2019. For domestic-related property crimes, there were 48 incidents in 2020 versus 64 incidents in 2019.
In addition to reports during the disaster declaration, Mitchell said LPD issued 39 COVID-19-related citations and Lubbock Fire Rescue issued 11 citations.
“The one trend that we have seen year-to-date in Lubbock has to do with our number of homicides,” he said. “To date, for this first year, we have had 16 homicides in the City of Lubbock. This is a significant increase as we had a total of 16 for the whole year last year.”
Texas Anti-Gang Center officers are paying attention to this issue, Mitchell said.