(This story has been updated to accurately reflect Texas and New York's COVID-19 death counts.)

As 2020 draws to an end, the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. But with vaccines in hand, the Lubbock Health Department looks to give hope to health care workers.

Over the weekend, on Dec. 26th and Dec. 27th, Lubbock reported 547 new cases of COVID-19 and 1 additional death, bringing the total death count to 524.

Just before Christmas Day, Lubbock surpassed 40,000 cases of COVID-19. Just 3,400 were active cases, the virus continues to spread.

According to recent data from the city, Lubbock currently has 341 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, and the region’s COVID hospitalization percentage is 21 percent. That places it just behind Amarillo at 22 percent, Waco at 23 percent, and Laredo, which has the highest percentage in the state at 34 percent..

Meanwhile, Texas continues to have the 2nd most COVID-19 infections in the country at 1.69 million, behind California's 2.17 million. As of December 28th, 2020, Texas also has the second highest COVID-19 death count in the U.S. at 26,472 per the CDC. New York is the deadliest state for the virus, with a total death count of 37,187 as of Dec. 28th, 2020.

The Lubbock Health Department starts vaccinating Phase 1A health care workers on Monday, Dec. 28th, in accordance with state rules regarding vaccine distribution.

Phase 1A includes health care workers in Tier 1 and Tier 2. Tier 1 workers will get the vaccine first and in order of priority.

It begins with those health care workers in hospital settings who work directly with COVID-19 patients on a daily basis. Then, vaccines go to staff at long-term care facilities, then EMS first responders, home health care workers, and finally, the residents in those long-term care facilities.

After those in Tier 1 have been vaccinated, priority moves to Tier 2, which begins with medical staff working in outpatient care settings. Then, staff at urgent care clinics, staff at community pharmacies, medical examiners, funeral home workers, and finally, school nurses.

In a press release, the City of Lubbock said: "If you fall into any of these categories, but your employer or place of business does not yet have a vaccine provider, please call the Health Department at 806-775-2933."

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*The CDC separates the state of New York and New York City numbers in its counting. Combined, their COVID-19 death count as of Dec. 28th, 2020 is 37,187.

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