Will Governor Abbott Shut Down Lubbock Again? [Opinion]
Coronavirus cases are on the rise in Lubbock, and on Thursday, officials with the City of Lubbock sounded the alarm and warned that if cases continue to rise, Governor Abbott could shut down parts of the Lubbock economy.
According to KAMC, 13.3 percent of Lubbock area hospital patients had tested positive for COVID-19. They reported that Dr. Craig Rhyne, the Chief Medical Officer with Covenant Health, told city officials that if more than 15 percent of patients in the Lubbock Trauma Service Area are positive with COVID-19 for seven days in a row, Texas Governor Greg Abbott "will" begin issuing shutdown orders for Lubbock.
According to Rhyne, the shutdowns would begin with elective surgeries, but could move to other areas of the economy:
Rhyne said a shutdown would start with limits on elective surgeries. It would then move on to restaurants bars and gyms, Rhyne said. He also said it is possible to stay off the list by taking the right steps.
Rhyne said Lubbock is running out of hospital beds and caregivers.
“We still have some room to flex,” said Dr. Rhyne. But doctors and nurses are exhausted, he said of Covenant Health.
While elected officials in Lubbock along with health officials are warning that the governor could shut down Lubbock, he isn't the only one that could place more restrictions on the people of Lubbock.
In El Paso, the hospitalization rate for COVID-19 is at 28 percent. According to KVIA, the Mayor of El Paso just announced the following restrictions for the citizens of El Paso, which apparently come with Governor Greg Abbott's blessings.
Margo and City/County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza announced the following "strong restrictions on activities in our community to slow the spread" as of 12:01 a.m. Friday...
- Occupancy is rolled back to 50% for all non-essential business.
- Restaurants must close at 9 p.m., except for take-out/drive-thru
- Visits to nursing homes and elderly care facilities are put on hold
- Gatherings in parks are limited to 10 or less
- Indoor sports cancelled, no spectators for outdoor sports (doesn't apply to UTEP, Locomotive)
- No home gatherings are permitted
- Note: Election polling places are unaffected by restrictions
- Reminder: Halloween trick-or treating will not be allowed
While the City of Lubbock has not put any such restrictions in place, it appears as though Governor Abbott could shut down parts of the Lubbock economy, while Mayor Pope could restrict what people do.
So, will we see another shutdown in Lubbock? There is no clear answer from the Governor's Office. Governor Abbott is welcome to appear on my radio show to discuss the issue, and hopefully he will soon. But history shows that Governor Abbott is not against shutting down or placing restrictions on businesses or cities. At the same time, I don't believe business owners or citizens will accept another shutdown.
City officials in Lubbock are blaming house parties, birthday parties, and get-togethers for the latest spike. With Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas coming up, I don't think we will see those parties or get-togethers vanishing.
Lubbock City Councilman Jeff Griffith will join The Chad Hasty Show on Friday at 9:05 a.m. to discuss coronavirus numbers in Lubbock and if Lubbock is close to another shutdown.