• July 5, 2020

Mayor drafting mask mandate - Odessa American: News

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Mayor drafting mask mandate

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Posted: Wednesday, June 24, 2020 6:07 pm

Odessa Mayor David Turner said Wednesday that he asked the city attorney to draft a mask mandate.

“We are very concerned about the numbers that are showing up in the hospitals…that’s a little alarming and we are not seeing masks being worn the same amount that other communities are,” he said.

Turner said that he would be able to sign the mandate to authorize it and then it would have to be approved by city council within a week.

He added that before he would authorize a mask mandate, he would need to see the County’s numbers, which came in late on Wednesday and he also wanted to talk to other Texas Mayors about what they are doing regarding mask mandates including Midland Mayor Patrick Payton.

When asked if he would authorize a mask mandate if Payton refused to do so, Turner said, “Yes I would move ahead if I felt the medical professionals are saying to do it and we felt it was a prudent time,” adding that he doesn’t want to get to the point of another shut down.

“The mask mandate will make the biggest impact,” ORMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rohith Saravanan said during Wednesday’s virtual hospital briefing, “It’s the one thing that we can do currently that’ll make the biggest impact in preventing the rise of this disease in our community.”

An Ector County Health Department press release that was sent after 5 p.m., Wednesday detailed that there are 670 total cases of COVID-19 in the county. The county reported that 236 cases are probable positives and 434 are confirmed, 947 are pending results, 260 people have recovered from the virus. The release also states that, “This is an increase of 500 cases over the last 24 days. Due to this increase some days are difficult to have numbers ready before 3 p.m. We are working as quickly as possible to get those updates and released daily to the public.”

Saravanan spoke on the confusion from the public and media of case definitions regarding probable cases. He referenced the antigen tests and the Abbott machine test.

“Those would all get listed as probable and they would not get listed under confirmed,” he said, “but nonetheless they are all positive especially if you look at the accuracy rates of the specific antigen tests which is 100 percent…a positive test is technically just as good as the PCR test,” he said adding that the only reason why the Texas Department of Health lists the antigen test as probable is because those tests have a one in five chance of producing false negatives.

“A probable case is a positive case that is just not positive by PCR…Lets just call them positive cases and for a positive case you would add both. You would add the confirmed and add the probable and call them all positive,” he said.

The health department reported that 14 people have tested positive at Focused Care at Odessa including one death, one staff member at Deerings has tested positive and four staff members have tested positive at Sienna Nursing Home.

Medical Center Hospital President and CEO Russell Tippin reported that out of 2,526 tests, 241 are positive and 20 patients are in the hospital which Tippin said is the highest in-house number since the beginning of the pandemic. Thirteen patients are on the designated floor, seven are in the critical care unit and three of them are on ventilators. Tippin said that 427 tests are pending results.

MCH Chief Nursing Officer Christin Timmons reported that three people from Big Bend Regional are in MCH. Two are in the critical care unit and one is on another designated floor.

Odessa Regional Medical Center President Stacey Brown reported that out of 725 tests, 54 are positive, 535 are negative and 136 are pending. Brown said that nine patients are in the hospital on ICU with one on a ventilator. She said two ICU patients were discharged, but then two more patients were admitted Tuesday night.

Dr. Timothy Benton refuted the claim that more tests is the only reason for an increase in positive cases when he referenced the positivity rate saying that when he was showing graphs based on data earlier in the pandemic, they were “showing about a one in 15 test positive rate. If you do the math today on the most recently updated numbers on the website, it’s a one out of nine rate. So, it is increasing not only just by testing, but by positive rate of tests.”

Turner also referenced the eight upcoming COVID-19 testing events which will be held at multiple city parks from June 30 to July 30 and said that medical and educational staff at the events will ensure social distancing.

Odessa, TX

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