Curtis Parrish Talks COVID Vaccine Coming to Lubbock and Plans for the Lubbock County Expo Center
Tuesday on KFYO Mornings with Dave King and Matt Martin, Lubbock County Judge Curtis Parrish joined Dave and Matt to talk about his recent COVID diagnosis, vaccines and new treatment methods coming to Lubbock, how the world has and will change from staying at home, the Expo center and who will be working on building it, how the Expo center will be paid for, and more.
Of the many topics that were discussed, one of the biggest was the meeting about a COVID-19 vaccine coming to Lubbock, as well as an antibody treatment. Focusing on the treatment, which is actually the same treatment that President Trump recently received, Curtis explained that the way it works is that people who have already had the virus can go and donate their plasma, that would then have antibodies for COVID in it, and that can be turned into a treatment that will help mitigate symptoms for people who currently have the virus. Parrish did clarify that this is not a cure for the virus, but specifically a treatment, and would be reserved for the most vulnerable people. He went on to say that the main purpose, and his hope for this, would be to decrease hospital capacity.
Shifting the focus to the vaccine, Parrish explained that they have been coordinating with the state, the federal government, and the city of Lubbock to come up with a distribution plan for the area. The judge explained that they have currently identified almost 50 sites that would be receiving the vaccine, and that they are hoping to have it in Lubbock in early December. The vaccine would be first given to healthcare workers seeing as we have 400-500 healthcare workers who are currently out due to the virus, then it would be given to first responders, then the older and more vulnerable people, and finally to the more general public. The vaccine is said to be 95% effective, which Curtis thinks is incredible, and has recently been fast-tracked by President Trump.
Staying on the topic of the virus, Curtis actually tested positive for the virus himself on the same day that he was supposed to meet with Governor Abbott in Lubbock. Parrish explained that he has had slight to moderate symptoms, and that the symptoms seem to come and go, but that he has been able to work from his home office, and will continue to do the business of the county, including doing his court hearings over video calls. This brought up the question of, once the virus has been gotten under control, if people will even want to return to offices at all. Curtis said that he thinks that after this virus, people will want to do a lot more work remotely, but that in the end, there is nothing like having meetings in person, because there is a "premium" to being able to make eye contact and recognizing changes in people's faces.
Another topic that was discussed was the county meeting yesterday, and talk of the Lubbock County Expo Center. Curtis said that things have, "been in slow motion while we all deal with the COVID," and that they are trying to get the project back on track. One way that they are doing so is by creating a "citizens board" that would deal with both the construction and operation of the multipurpose expo center during the building and operation fazes. Each county commissioner would pick two members that come from their respective precincts, and Curtis himself would pick one to be the chairman of the board. Curtis hopes that this committee would be in place by the end of the year, with the committee getting everything in place to be approved hopefully by Spring or Summer, and construction of the Expo center hopefully beginning by the late Summer.
Staying on the topic of the Lubbock County Expo Center, the Judge confirmed that the current taxes that are being collected by the citizens are only paying for the arena portion of the center. When asked what would pay for the rest of it, Parrish explained that the current committee has been fundraising for the other part of the complex. When asked if there is any plan to try and get citizen tax money to pay for it, Curtis said that is not even an option on the table, going on to say that he would not allow a single penny to be spent on a general revenue, either. The Lubbock County Expo Center project is a public-private partnership, partnering with LCEC. The facility would be owned by the people of Lubbock, and the new committee would likely contract with a 3rd party operator.
Watch the full interview with Lubbock County Judge Curtis Parrish in the video above.