Tuesday, June 23, 2020

City Council Special Meeting is Not on Coronavirus

The City of San Angelo experienced a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases since Memorial Day weekend.  Positive cases are up 170%, from 95 on May 31st  to 256 today.

City Council will hold a special meeting June 24th at 5:00 pm but the topic is not our deteriorating public health situation.  Instead, city leaders will consider spending up to $6.5 million for improvements for Goodfellow Airforce Base.

I hope base leaders inform City Council of their efforts to contain COVID-19.  Everyone on base must wear a mask.  Goodfellow has had two positive cases to date.

Mayor Gunter and Dr. James Vretis attribute the rise to people ignoring steps needed to contain the disease. 

"Each time an individual is in close contact with another, they increase their chance of exposure to coronavirus," Vretis said. "Over Memorial Day, we saw many gatherings of greater than 10 people who obviously were not from the same household."

Vretis said they have seen the percentage of shoppers wearing masks continuously decrease.
Oddly, Vretis and Mayor Gunter approved a gathering of up to 1,000 people at Lake Nasworthy in the midst of the recent rise of cases.   The Beers, Bands and BBQ Bazaar event will be held July 24-25, 2020.  In between is July 4th holiday, when families gather to celebrate the founding of our nation.

The way to get our community to a vaccine is through following public health measures.  Texas hit 5,489 new cases today.  Before Memorial Day weekend new cases ranged from 500 to 1,500 per day.   Exponential spread of the disease would be disastrous for Texas citizens.

A second person died of the disease in San Angelo and eleven people are currently hospitalized.  To survive in West Texas required fortitude and the help of neighbors.  Citizens can show both characteristics by wearing masks and social distancing.  That's mighty neighborly.

Update 6-24-20:  Texas Governor Greg Abbott said yesterday: “I did authorize local officials to have the authority to establish regulations in gatherings of 100 or more people,” he said. “This was intended to allow local authorities in particular to regulate gatherings for Fourth of July celebrations. We did not specify what restrictions or regulations they could impose. It’s possible they could require masks in such an environment. It’s going to be up to local officials in that regard.”

The City announced 16 new COVID-19 cases today bringing the total to 272.  Texas daily case count reached a record 5,551.  Council approved the $6.5 million funding for Goodfellow improvements needed for the grant application.  A Goodfellow leader spoke but on the project was silent as to coaching Council on coronavirus control.

Update 6-25-20:  Mayor Gunter and County Judge Steve Floyd issued an order that prohibits any outdoor public events over 100 people and all public events with more than 100 people in any City facility.  It also equires masks to be worn in all auditoriums/theaters and performance halls by employees, volunteers and audience members. The order does not apply to events approved through City Council's Special Events process.

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