Over the second weekend in December 2020, the City of Lubbock reported a total of 643 new cases of COVID-19; 285 cases on Saturday, Dec. 12th and 358 cases on Sunday, Dec. 13th. The city’s health department also reported another 19 fatalities, bringing the total COVID-19 death count to 458. But now there’s hope on the horizon.

Lubbock hospitals are expected to receive their first shipment of the recently approved COVID-19 vaccine this week. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, Covenant Medical Center will receive 2,935 doses of the vaccine on Tuesday, Dec. 15th.

University Medical Center will likely get its first shipment of 1,950 doses as early as Wednesday, Dec. 16th, with more shipments expected over the following weeks. Other cities to receive the vaccine this week include Amarillo, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Edinburg, and El Paso.

The State of Texas is also implementing a COVID-19 vaccination program specifically for long-term care facilities. The program will deliver doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to participating pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS.

Trained staff from those pharmacies will then be sent to participating long-term care facilities and administer vaccines to residents. The Office of Governor Abbott says more than 2,000 facilities have already signed up and the program will officially begin on December 28th.

Meanwhile, Lubbock County’s COVID hospitalization rate has increased to 28 percent and remains the 3rd highest percentage among the 22 hospital districts in Texas, just behind Amarillo and Laredo, which are both at 30 percent.

El Paso, which once led the state with a 44 percent COVID-19 hospitalization rate, has seen that percentage decrease to 23 percent as of Sunday, Dec. 13th.

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