With 51 total COVID-19 cases and one related death to the virus in Lubbock County, Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope issued a stay-at-home order effective 11:59 p.m. Sunday to 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 3.
As of 5 p.m. Sunday, 10 additional cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Lubbock County.
The order, which is a part of a sixth disaster declaration for the city, requires people to stay at their current residence, which can also include motels, hotels and shared rentals, according to the declaration. Outside, people need to practice social distancing of up to 6 feet.
The Lubbock City Council will host an emergency meeting later this week to discuss the order and future actions, Pope said during a virtual news conference Sunday evening.
The order prohibits any private or public gathering outside of a single household, Pope said. People who are sick, even if they have not tested positive for COVID-19, those who show COVID-19 symptoms or those who tested positive for COVID-19 are required to stay home unless in need of medical care.
People who are ill are ordered to stay at home until they have shown no fever for at least 72 hours without the use of medicine, have improved symptoms or until 14 days have passed since the first symptom appeared, according to the declaration.
Unless one works for an essential business or needs to go to the grocery store, a healthcare provider, a restaurant for food pick-up or the home of a person one takes care of, Pope said one needs to stay home. People still can leave home to buy supplies needed to maintain a house.
Essential businesses will continue to operate as described by the previous order, Pope said. Essential businesses and services include first responders, healthcare workers, those that provide food and financial institutions. People who work on the electrical grid, manage the water supply, are a part of construction projects and pick up waste are considered essential.
Licensed day cares are open, Pope said. The Lubbock Independent School District is working with area hospitals to start special day cares Monday.
City parks and golf courses will remain open, Pope said. But one should continue practical social distancing.
No visitors are allowed in nursing homes, retirement homes or long-term care facilities unless one is providing critical care, Pope said.
"We will continue to work with our fire marshal's office," he said regarding enforcement of the order. "We, frankly, had remarkable compliance. I think we expect that to continue. In fact, we expect that to get better."
People not practicing social distancing at parks and other public areas are the biggest challenge, Pope said. Although, no one should expect this order to be a police effort.
If the order will be extended depends on COVID-19 testing results this week, Pope said.
"I think one of the things we're going to look for is the number of cases to start leveling off," he said.
Regarding the 51 COVID-19 cases in Lubbock, Katherine Wells, director of the Lubbock Health Department, said the health department identified multiple staffers of nursing homes who were symptomatic. With the support of University Medical Center nursing staff, more than 75 nursing home residents and staff members were tested for COVID-19.
The city issued four different quarantine orders for nursing home facilities in Lubbock, Wells said. These facilities include Whisperwood Nursing & Rehabilitation Center located at 5502 4th Street, Heritage Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center located at 5301 University Ave., Southern Specialty Rehabilitation and Nursing located at 4320 19th St. and Lakeside Rehabilitation and Care Center located at 1601 Mac Davis Lane.
"These orders restrict patient movement, except when they need medical care. They also restrict staff from moonlighting and working at other care facilities, and we're also restricting staff from going anywhere else other than home and work," she said.
The health department also issued a public health notice for all nursing facilities that strengthens federal guidelines at these facilities, Wells said.
In addition, Wells said the health department will release a public health directive for retail establishments that gives guidance on what is required regarding hygiene and social distancing practices.
Wells said eight individuals who were in quarantine because of COVID-19 were released.