Coronavirus Update

Officials with the City addressed issues surrounding the COVID-19 cases confirmed at Whisperwood Nursing & Rehabilitation Center during a news conference Friday evening.

Katherine Wells, director of the Lubbock Health Department, said there were a total of 31 COVID-19 cases in Lubbock County as of 4 p.m. Friday.

"The health department received eight positive test results with Lubbock County residents today, so that was a big increase," she said. "It was the largest number of positive results we received in a one-day time period."

Out of the eight cases confirmed Friday, the investigation is still ongoing for one case, one individual got the virus while traveling domestically and the other six cases were exposed to other known cases, according to the City of Lubbock.

The individual with the ongoing investigation is 20 to 22-years old, the domestic travel case is 10 to 19-years-old and the other six cases consist of two individuals that are 30 to 39, two that are 20 to 29, one that is 40 to 49 and one over 60-years-old, according to the City of Lubbock.

A majority of these cases were associated with Whisperwood Nursing & Rehabilitation Center located at 5502 4th Street, Wells said. Transmission of the virus is taking place within the facility. 

"We saw about two positive employees on Wednesday, and we've been conducting additional investigations within that facility, and we have now identified additional cases of both one resident and multiple employees," she said. "The health department's working very hard on working with that nursing facility to ensure that we had appropriate PPE and resource for that facility."

The goal of the health department is to identify any more positive cases at the nursing home, Wells said. Plans are set to put a quarantine order on the facility to limit movement of patients and staff out of the facility.

For people positive with COVID-19 that are in quarantine, Wells said there are two testing criteria people can meet to get out of quarantine.

"The first one is two COVID tests, at least 24-hours apart, that are both negative," she said. "The other one that we don't use more often because it does not have much testing capability is that the individual has been at least seven days since their diagnosis, and their symptoms have been resolved and they have no fever for at least 72 hours."

Quarantined individuals that are released will receive a letter from the health department that they will give to their employee saying they are clear of the virus, Wells said.

There are about 90 COVID-19 tests pending, Wells said. Results for these tests will be known in the next couple of days.

Regardless, Dr. Ronald Cook, local health authority, said one can get the virus from someone who is six feet away. Because there are asymptomatic carriers of the virus and the small number of tests, he said one should continue practicing social distancing.

"You must stay 6 feet away," he said regarding how people should act at any place.

In addition, Cook said one should stay home if he or she is sick, even if it may not be COVID-19.

Updates on the city's efforts to limit the spread of the virus were also given at the news conference.

Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope said Lubbock's hospitals are very prepared to combat the virus.

"Both [University Medical Center] and Covenant remain strong," he said.

Both institutions have extra intensive care unit beds, Pope said. 

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