LUBBOCK, Texas — Case numbers are high and deaths are on the rise, both locally and across the South Plains region.

Officials said they are struggling to get people to follow the simple guidelines that can limit the spread of the virus, such as wearing masks, socially distancing and having no gatherings over 10 people.

“Our hospitals are full, our ICUs are full, our emergency rooms are full. Last night [on Monday], we had about 5 beds available,” said Lubbock Health Authority Dr. Ron Cook.

The Health Department said that small gatherings are causing this latest spike in cases.

“Our surge in cases is not due to superspreader events, but it’s the accumulation of thousands of decision made across the community to ignore public health guidances,” said Katherine Wells, Director of the Lubbock Health Department.

And health officials are struggling to impress the seriousness of COVID-19 across the South Plains.

“It’s heartbreaking sometimes, it’s depressing sometimes,” said Hale County Environmental Health Inspector Jack McCasland. “We are trying to do all these things, but the numbers keep piling up.”

But the Governor said there won’t be another shutdown and Mayor Dan Pope said Lubbock will continue forward with the current plans in place.

“We will make decisions based on facts and not fear. We will remain flexible and we will stay the course with our effort,” said Mayor Dan Pope.

Yet deaths in Lubbock and Hale County have been high. Hale County reported six deaths on Monday, while Lubbock reported an all time high of 18 deaths in a single day on Tuesday.

According to the Lubbock COVID-19 dashboard out of the 325 people who have died from COVID-19, just over half have been male, and a majority have been white.

Most of the deaths have been in the 80-89 age range, but almost no age range is not represented.

“We mourn each and every death — each and every one,” McCasland said. “And I sympathize and I have compassion for each and every family but I wish there was something I could do.”

And with the holiday season approaching, officials are warning folks not to put their life – or someone else’s life – in danger.

“We can’t think short-term. We can’t think of what we want to do today. We have to think what’s best for us long-term,” said McCasland.

Dr. Ron Cook has asked everyone to think about their Thanksgiving plans and change them to make them as safe as possible by having less than 10 people, making sure to wear a mask, washing hands, and social distancing.