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.

Friday, August 07, 2020

Positivity Rate Remains High

San Angelo's post Memorial Day coronavirus explosion waned slightly after peaking with two nursing home cases announcement.  Our community has a long way to go to get below the recommended 5% positivity rate.  Tom Green County is currently at 17% positive since testing began and over 24% positive the last seven days.

Update 8-11-20:  Local Health Authority James Vretis said testing volume is way down, even though our positivity rate remains high.   Did the illness suddenly go away or are public health officials flying blind?  Time will tell.