As the amount of COVID-19 cases in Lubbock continue to decline, City of Lubbock officials hosted a virtual press conference on Wednesday to discuss the current procedures going into effect in the coming weeks.

As of Tuesday’s press conference, 759 active COVID-19 cases and 516 recoveries have been reported, and the number of deaths sits at 50.

Katherine Wells, director of the Lubbock Health Department, said there have been no new deaths in over a month in the city. Lubbock also saw an increase of COVID-19 cases last week with an average of 7.5 new cases a day. In prior weeks, only 5 new cases were being reported a day.

“We are still doing well, Lubbock,” she said, “but we are monitoring these numbers and are really looking for any additional hot-spots in the community.”

Mandated testing of Lubbock nursing homes will be completed by the end of the week, Wells said. The Health Department has not identified any new hot-spots at this time.

Dr. Ronald Cook, local health authority, said it is still important to protect vulnerable patients at this time and noted the decline of new reported COVID-19 cases.

“So, what I don't want you to do is become apathetic or complacent about this disease, it is real. It is still present in our community, and we must do everything we can to make sure that we keep a lid on it, slow it down,” he said.

Cook also said a new symptom of COVID-19 is presenting itself as a rash. The new reported symptom is showing up in children, young adults and early twenty year olds, and can show up in many variations, he said. One should talk to their primary care physician if they start to notice a rash.

Robert Taylor, co-chair of Lubbock Economic Recovery Task Force, said Lubbock had a small victory over the weekend with Lubbock high schools getting to hold graduations for their senior classes. Lubbock has 840 businesses that have been self certified to protect their staff and customers during this time through an initiative called LubbockSafe.

Councilman Steve Massengale, co-chair of LERT, said Lubbock has the ability to authorize organizations to host events with over five hundred people with the mayor’s approval.

“Next time you think and you're thinking about clicking and having something delivered, I want you to pause, and I want you to think that if there's any business in Lubbock where you could buy that product,” he said. “I want to make sure you go and do that because the backbone of our economy here has always been small businesses.”

Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope said that 22,000 people in Lubbock have been tested so far. The City of Lubbock has dispersed their CARES Act funds into five community initiatives: rent assistance, utility assistance, child care assistance, mortgage assistance, and small business micro grants.

Pope said the April sales tax collection report shows that Lubbock will recover faster than expected and that he is hopeful for the future of the city.

“It's important that we remain smart about how we respond to COVID-19, use your common sense. West Texas horse sense. Okay," Pope said. "Please do it the Lubbock way, do it right. Be safe. Be kind, and be helpful. Let's continue to push through this.”

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