Thursday, December 03, 2020

Coronavirus Emergency Deepens

 

San Angelo Mayor Brenda Gunter stressed the serious outbreak of COVID-19 in West Texas and the impact on Shannon Medical Center.  Tom Green County Judge Steve Floyd could not attend the meeting as he'd been exposed to someone who tested positive.

Had 61 people been murdered in the Concho Valley in November citizens would be in an uproar. That's how many people died of COVID-19 last month.  

Deaths continue at a rapid pace for December, eight patients in three days.   It's long past time for everyone to do their part.  Yet, that's the message local leaders continue to give.  Lives depend on citizens wearing masks, social distancing and frequently washing hands until a vaccine can be administered in sufficient numbers to protect our population. 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

City Reports Eight COVID-19 Deaths

 

The City of San Angelo reported eight COVID-19 deaths today, exceeding the seven announced on August 7, 2020.

Deaths from COVID-19 soared in November, rising by 58 with one day left in the month.  Our community is in the midst of a serious public health crisis.  Protecting self and fellow citizens is priority #1 until vaccines can be delivered and administered to achieve herd immunity.

City Council should shed some like on our public health emergency preparedness activities and get as much information out as possible on patterns in transmission.  Public health officials have not gone before Council in quite some time.  

Leadership is required in times of crisis.  Mayor Gunther and Dr. Vretis have been front and center but those with official roles have not informed Council of the status of our growing emergency and plans to stem the rising tide of deaths.

Update 11-30-20:  The City reported three more deaths from COVID-19 bringing the total to 61 for the month of November and 151 since the pandemic began.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Over Forty COVID Deaths Since November 10th

 

On 11-10-20 the City of San Angelo reported 99 COVID-19 deaths.  Eighteen days later the total is 140.  

Over 100 patients are in Shannon Medical Center for COVID-19 treatment.  Shannon reported 102 COVID patients for each of the last three days.

San Angelo and Tom Green County are in the midst of a public health crisis.  Citizen behavior will determine our course until a vaccine becomes widely available.  Neighbors care for one another.  It's time for everyone to step up and take actions to minimize the spread of this pandemic. 

Update 11-29-20:  The City reported eight new COVID-19 deaths today bringing the total to 148.  This exceeds the seven deaths reported o August 7, 2020.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Tom Green County Office Closed due to COVID-19

 

The Tom Green County Clerk's office is closed until November 23, 2020 after half the staff in the office that produces records for the public tested positive for the coronavirus.

Tom Green County Commisssioner's Court took no action on a plan to use off duty police officers to request citizen compliance with mask and social distancing commitments made by local employers.

County Judge Steve Floyd said in last week's press conference, "My opinion of these (holding up a mask) is not real high."  He did say mask use is needed to turn the bad tide.  The Judge asked people who don't want to wear masks to stay away from places that require them.

Locally 86 people are in the hospital for COVID-19, exceeding the number shared last Friday that shifts coronavirus management over to the Texas Governor and Local Health Authority Dr. James Vretis.  

Signs of coronavirus spread are in county offices.  Action is needed.  Wear a mask, social distance and take Vitamin D.  For most citizens a vaccine is months away.  We need to get everyone to the point when effective vaccines are available.  That's what a community does.

Update 11-18-20:  City of San Angelo indicated Shannon Medical Center has 88 inpatients with COVID-19.   The County website has no information on the Clerk's office being closed.  No word yet on Judge Floyd losing his local discretion. 

 

Update 11-22-20:  Judge Floyd informed the public that the County Clerk's office reopened on Friday.  Floyd did that in a press conference hosted by the City.

Update 11-25-20:  Shortly after reopening the District Clerk's office Elizabeth McGill submitted her resignation.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Officials Hold COVID-19 Press Conference

 

The City of San Angelo and Tom Green County held a press conference this morning regarding the surge in positive cases in our community and record COVID-19 hospitalizations at Shannon Medical Center.  Mayor Gunter continued her encouragement to citizens to act responsibly to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.  County Judge Steve Floyd announced a new program where off duty officers would visit business establishments to check compliance with CDC guidelines.  Officers would encourage owners and customers to fulfill their commitment to reduce the spread via social distancing, use of hand sanitizers and wearing of masks.

Shannon Medical Director Dr. Chris Barnett said 67 patients are currently hospitalized for COVID-19.  Once enough patients are hospitalized for COVID-19 in our Trauma Service region Judge Floyd loses his ability to approve events and state requirements for restaurant and bar occupancy will go into effect.  San Angelo Live's Joe Hyde tried unsuccessfully to get a local official to give him that number.  Judge Floyd gave him the equation and suggested Hyde do the math.  That number is 84 COVID-19 patients in our trauma service region.

SAISD Chief Carl Dethloff referred to a Halloween surge in cases.  For the last two months I noted increased gatherings in our neighborhood.  I would see 15-20 cars at a house during Dallas Cowboy football games.  An extended family gathered to celebrate a loved ones birthday.  SAPD officers were called to a nearby Halloween evening party.  As I drove by each event I pondered the impact on those attending and our greater community.

Detloff provided data on SAISD contact tracing, saying 98% of cases arose from outside the SAISD family.   

For months I've expected the City's public health department to provide citizens information on local compliance with CDC guidelines and any patterns revealed from contact tracing.   That has not happened.

The City is responsible for public health emergency planning.  It has been rare for Health Services Director Sandra Villareal to speak publicly on the city's response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Yes, daily data is provided on the number of new positive tests, hospitalization and deaths.  They've all hit records, which prompted today's press conference.

At the end of the meeting one gentleman asked about enforcement and fines, while another sounded off about masks being tyranny.  It was a flat ending to a press conference intended to ring alarm bells.

Oddly, City Council budgeted less money for Health Services and public health emergency preparedness in the midst of a pandemic.  Something's not adding up.

 Update 11-15-20:  Hospitalizations rose to 78 today, an increase of 15 from yesterday and 11 above the concerning number shared in the Friday press conference. 

Update 11-16-20:  Shannon has 83 patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19.  Three patients have died each of the last three days for a total of nine deaths in that period.  Deaths stand at 111 since the pandemic began.  Judge Floyd is yet to issue a statement.

Update 11-18-20:  The City reported 21 deaths from COVID-19 in the last ten days.  That's an average of over 2 deaths per day.  The city issued a press release on hospitalizations exceeding the 15%.

Update 11-23-20:  The City reported a record 90 patients are currently hospitalized for COVID-19

Friday, September 11, 2020

Tellurian Postpones Permian Global Access Pipeline


Tellurianm dropped the Permian Global Access Pipeline from phase 1 of its plans to transform the global LNG market.  PGAP would've provided West Texas natural gas to the company's planned Driftwood terminal in Louisiana.  A company presentation indicated Tellurian deferred two pipelines.


PGAP crossed tributaries feeding Twin Buttes Reservoir and Lake Nasworthy.  Landowners along Spring Creek, Dove Creek and the South Concho River can breathe a sigh of relief for now.  

Tellurian could still develop the pipeline at a later date. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

City Staff Propose Health Services Budget Cut during Pandemic


City Council will entertain a proposal to cut the Health Services budget from $468,203 to $462,646 for the coming fiscal year.  Health Services is responsible for public health emergency preparedness.

Public Health Emergency Preparedness is responsible for planning, preparing for and responding to all types of public health threats and emergencies that impact the health of San Angelo. 
Other department charges for Health Services are $113,900 but there is no explanation of that number in Council's budget workshop packet.

Our current COVID-19 outbreak caused 364 hospitalizations and 40 deaths to date.  Roughly 50 patients have been "currently hospitalized" for the last two and a half weeks.

This public health crisis resulted in serious illness and loss of life for area citizens.  City staff should explain our local response to Council and the funds needed to address areas needing attention.

Mayor Brenda Gunter is doing her part, however it is not clear City Council is in support.  I have seen one Councilperson, Mrs. Billie DeWitt, offer her gratitude and support to the Mayor for her hard work.  Hopefully that will change.

Update 8-17-20:   Council talked about COVID-19 under health insurance but not as a public health emergency and what responses may be needed in the coming fiscal year.