City confirms third COVID-19 case at joint press conference

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas– The City of Lubbock and Texas Tech confirmed a third case of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, on Wednesday during a press conference at City Hall.

Mayor Dan Pope kicked off the news conference by updating his declaration of disaster for the city.

He said mass gatherings are now limited to 50 people, and people could potentially face a fine if they do not follow the declaration. However, exemptions for the mass gatherings include, the airport, schools, daycares, offices, grocery stores, hospitals, medical facilities, jails and homeless shelters.

Those rules are set to go into effect Thursday at 5:00 p.m., said Pope.

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Additionally, he added that city council will update the order within the next seven days next Tuesday during their regularly scheduled meeting.

Catherine Wells, director of the city health department, went on to update the other two cases that were confirmed Tuesday.

The first case

The first one was a resident of Lubbock, as well as a TTU student, returning from a trip from Europe.

TTU arranged transportation and a place for students to stay to enable them to be compliant with the 14 day isolation that was put out by the federal government.

However, the student did not return to the place that was provided but instead went to their home. Everybody in that household will be under quarantine, said Wells.

She said the student was tested for COVID-19 at University Medical Center on Monday.

The student also reported symptoms while traveling to Lubbock and also while visiting a local restaurant.

Between 8:45 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. on March 15, the student was at the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport, as well as the Rosa’s Cafe at 4th Street and Quaker Avenue from 9:00 p.m. until close, said Wells.

Rosa’s began doing a thorough cleaning of the restaurant after they were notified it was exposed to the virus.

The second case

The Hockley County resident traveled to a state where there was community transmissions and were exposed to the virus, said Wells.

That individual was seen at Grace Clinic, Covenant, and UMC.

Wells said anyone in the resident’s household will be followed by the state health department who will monitor them, due to the jurisdiction of Lubbock and Hockley Counties.

She also confirmed the resident was an older individual but did not comment further for the sake of their privacy.

Continue to practice good hygiene

Dr. Cook with the TTU Health Sciences Center further went onto explain that being put on isolation simply means staying away from people.

He said the city does not want to quarantine people, but that they should continue to practice social distancing.

Cook said ibuprofen, Advil and Aleve are not drugs to take when experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. He said they are tough on the kidneys.

The best option is to stick with Tylenol or acetaminophen for now.

Texas Tech’s decision to protect students, faculty and staff

Dr. Lawrence Schovanec, president of TTU, said the decision was made last week to evacuate students studying abroad and return them home.

Based on CDC guidelines, he said there were strict rules for students traveling from Europe. That included providing students a car at the airport to pick up each student, as well as providing them with a wellness check once they returned to Lubbock.

What happens now

Pope said to expect a similar response for the third patient and will hold a press conference more than likely tomorrow.

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