LUBBOCK, Texas — According to a city health official, with COIVD-19 hospitalizations quickly on the rise, the percentage of people in local hospitals with coronavirus is approaching 15 percent.
Essentially, this means Lubbock is approaching a point where 15 percent of all people hospitalized in the city are in the hospital for COVID-19.
Officials said the most important thing about the COVID-19 vaccine is that it prevents serious illnesses from happening.
“The best tool we have in our toolbox right now is the COVID vaccine,” said Katherine Wells, director of the City of Lubbock Health Department. “We are seeing fewer severe illnesses, less illness and less spread.”
Officials say that they don’t know what will happen if we go over the 15 percent threshold of COVID-19 hospitalizations. Notably, several state Trauma Service Areas (TSAs) have exceeded 15 percent hospitalizations in recent days.
Following a recent executive order by Governor Greg Abbott, municipalities cannot implement COVID restrictions, but can make recommendations and highly encourage them.
“We can’t mandate anyone get vaccinated. We can’t mandate somebody to wear a mask; however, those recommendations are going to be highly encouraged,” said Wells.
The citify health department said they would do all they can to help aid in the safety of the public. The health department is also training more contact tracers to determine who among the infected were vaccinated and whether they were hospitalized.
County Judge Curtis Parrish said he recommends getting vaccinated, but emphasized it is a choice.
“Getting a vaccine is a choice. You are not being forced to by the government in any way, shape or form,” Parrish said. “It is a choice, and [the county] is asking you to choose to be vaccinated.”
The City of Lubbock’s health department is offering free COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. You can visit their website for more information.