• June 4, 2020

Coronavirus updates from the Odessa American - Odessa American: Local News

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Coronavirus updates from the Odessa American

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Posted: Friday, March 27, 2020 6:00 pm

>> 6:13 p.m. Friday, March 27

The City of Odessa has issued a press released that an individual in Ector County has tested posted for COVID-19 (coronavirus).

>> 3:18 p.m. Thursday, March 26

The Texas Department of State Health Services website offers numbers updated daily by 12 p.m. on cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) confirmed cases in Texas. Reported data is current as of 8 p.m. the previous day. As of 8 p.m. Wednesday it showed 21,424 tested statewide and there were: Total Texas positive cases: 1,396; total Texas deaths: 18. Ninety-two Texas counties had positive cases of COVID-19. Midland County had 6 confirmed cases and has reported one death. Crane County had 1. Dallas County had 303. There were no reported confirmed cases in Ector, although the Ector County Health Department was aware of 48 residents being tested as of 8 p.m. Thursday. Of those 48, 15 were negative and 33 results are pending.

Many Texas cities and counties have issued shelter in place orders including Waco, Dallas, Hidalgo County and others.

In the United States, the cdc.gov site, showed 68,440 total cases and 994 deaths as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.

The data includes both confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19.

Visit the Texas site at dshs.state.tx.us or the CDC site at tinyurl.com/tztrjlf.

>> 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, March 24

The Texas Department of State Health Services website offers updated numbers on cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) confirmed cases in Texas. As of 8 p.m. Monday it showed 11,167 tested statewide and there were: Total Texas positive cases: 410; total Texas deaths: 9. Midland County had 1. Crane County had 1. Dallas County had 34. There were no reported confirmed cases in Ector, although a Saturday news release from the City of Odessa indicated only 15 residents have even been tested.

Many Texas cities and counties have issued shelter in place orders including Waco, Dallas, Hidalgo County and others.

In the United States, the cdc.gov site, showed 44,183 total cases and 544 deaths as of 4 p.m. Monday.

The data includes both confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19.

Visit the Texas site at dshs.state.tx.us or the CDC site at tinyurl.com/tztrjlf.

>> 5:01 p.m. Tuesday, March 24

Gov. Greg Abbott has directed the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to issue guidance allowing restaurants to sell bulk retail products from restaurant supply chain distributors directly to consumers provided that such foods are in their original condition, packaging, or presented as received by the restaurant, a press release stated. Under this guidance, restaurants will be able to sell items like packaged meat, fruit and vegetables, and dry goods directly to the public to prepare and consume at home. 

This guidance will allow distributors and restaurants to provide Texans another source of food outside of grocery stores and prepared food from restaurants. These bulk food items would be available for purchase through restaurants offering drive-thru, delivery, pick-up, and curbside service. 

>> 4:12 p.m. Tuesday, March 24

Governor Greg Abbott today held a press conference to provide an update on incoming supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other resources to aid Texas’ response to COVID-19, a press release stated. The Governor announced that the newly established Supply Chain Strike Force has already secured more than $83 million of purchase orders for essential supplies. Additionally, the Governor announced that the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) will begin receiving 100,000 masks per day by the end of this week and the Supply Chain Strike Force will begin receiving an additional 100,000 masks per day by the end of next week — meaning the State of Texas will soon be receiving more than one million masks per week.

The Governor also announced the launch of an online portal run by the Supply Chain Strike Force to streamline the process and validation of leads for more supplies. The portal, accessible through www.texas.gov, will serve as an intake process for those wanting to provide valid leads on PPE and donations. The portal also serves as a portal for those wanting to donate supplies, services, or your time—including medical professionals and nurses looking to volunteer.

>> 1:54 p.m. Tuesday, March 24

Today, Midland County, the City of Midland and Midland Memorial Hospital confirmed Midland County's first COVID-19 related death. The patient, a male in his 60s, was being treated at Midland Memorial Hospital and had no significant underlying medical conditions. The patient passed away on March 24, 2020, a news release from Midland Memorial said.

No other details will be released at the request of the patient's family.

>> 4:40 p.m. Monday, March 23

Gov. Greg Abbott today announced that Texas has received $36.9 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of the state's initial allotment of funding from the first emergency coronavirus bill passed by Congress, a press release detailed. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) will distribute $19.5 million to 43 local health departments to aid in their COVID-19 response. This includes $1.75 million for Dallas County, Tarrant County, and the San Antonio Metro Health District where operations have been impacted by federal activities. The remaining funds will be used by DSHS to support operations in areas of the state not covered by local health departments and for statewide response activities.

These funds will be used to strengthen Texas’ community intervention efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 and preserve critical healthcare, workforce, and infrastructure functions, while minimizing social and economic impact. In addition, these funds will be used to scale up Texas’ surveillance, lab testing, and reporting capabilities.

>> 3:27 p.m. Monday, March 23

Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter to President Trump requesting a presidential declaration of a major disaster in Texas based on the continued impact of COVID-19, a press release detailed. This action follows on the heels of a series of proactive measures, including declaring a state of disaster for all 254 Texas counties on March 13, 2020.

Filed in accordance with the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, the request is based in part on Governor Abbott’s conclusion that the ongoing COVID-19 incident is of such severity and magnitude that supplementary federal assistance is necessary to save lives, to protect property, public health, and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a larger disaster.

“Texas is all-in on our response to COVID-19 and we need Washington’s financial assistance as provided for under the law to support our efforts to limit the spread of this virus,” Abbott stated in a press release. “COVID-19-related expenses and obligations are already exceeding $50 million and that will only rise as our efforts continue. Additional federal funding is essential for us to maintain our aggressive course of action to protect our state.”

>> 10:28 a.m. Monday, March 23

The City of Odessa wants to remind citizens that although many packaged cleaning wipes say ‘flushable’ on the packaging, they are not – and can lead to blockages in our sewer system. Given that there appears to be some limitations in local toilet paper stock, we would like to remind the community that wipes, paper towel, and Kleenex should be disposed of in the garbage, rather than down toilets. It is critical to maintain clear sanitary and sewer lines for public health and safety.

>> 10:18 a.m. Monday, March 23

Starting today, and in line with the latest guidance provided by the CDC and the Texas State Department of Health related to COVID-19, all hospital visitors will be restricted until further notice. The only exceptions are for our new mothers and babies, who will be allowed one visitor each.

“We are here, as always, to serve all patients. Our commitment to providing care for the ongoing health and well-being of our community is vital, particularly in times like these. To protect our patients and employees from the spread of COVID-19, we are making every effort to keep our facilities safe through enhanced screening of patients and strict visitor restrictions to our facilities,” a news release said.

All patients who enter the hospital through available access points will be screened immediately upon arrival. Points of entrance will be limited to the ER main entrance 24/7 and the West Campus main entrance 24/7, the release said.

If you are not a provider working at ORMC, hospital employee, or seeking immediate medical attention, you are asked to avoid the hospital.

If you are experiencing a cough, fever, and/or shortness of breath or have been in direct contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, call your primary physician doctor’s office. Your physician will help determine whether you may come in for an appointment, or if you should stay at home and await further instruction. You can also call our COVID-19 hotline for a phone screening and additional resources at 432-582-8030. Please do not come to the hospital unless it is an emergency.

>> 4:00 p.m. Saturday, March 21

No positive cases of Coronavirus in Ector County were reported as of 4 p.m. Saturday, a news release from the City of Odessa detailed. The Ector County Health Department (ECHD) reported being aware of only 15 tests with 11 negative, and 4 are pending results. The release is the first time actual testing numbers were released by the city. The low number of tests does not include numbers from any private lab testing. The release also details that other cities have more testing centers including drive throughs and that Medical Center Hospital’s urgent care centers will be set up this week to do testing.

>> 6:53 p.m. Friday, March 20

The Texas Tribune website offers updated numbers on cases of COVID19 (coronavirus) confirmed cases in Texas. As of 7 p.m. Friday it showed 5,277 tested statewide and there were: Total Texas positive cases: 212; total Texas deaths: 5.

Officials will not confirm how many have been tested locally. In the United States, the cdc.gov site, showed 15,219 total cases and 201 deaths as of 7 p.m. Friday. That was with all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and U.S. Virgin Islands reporting. The data includes both confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19.

Visit the Texas site at dshs.state.tx.us or the CDC site at tinyurl.com/tztrjlf.

Learn more about the virus at coronavirus.gov.

>> 12:02 p.m. Friday, March 20

Gov. Greg Abbott issued the following statement after the Texas Supreme Court issued an emergency order suspending residential eviction proceedings through April 19, 2020, unless there is a threat of physical harm or criminal activity:

"This decision by the Texas Supreme Court offers a lifeline to many Texans who are beginning to feel the economic impact of COVID-19," Abbott stated in a press release. "Temporarily suspending residential eviction proceedings will provide Texans whose personal income has been affected by the spread of this virus with greater flexibility to meet their housing needs and provide for their families. I thank the Texas Supreme Court for its swift action on this matter."

>> 11:37 a.m. Friday, March 20

Gov. Greg Abbott directed the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) to temporarily suspend inmate fees for health care services related to COVID-19, a press release detailed.

While incarcerated Texans housed within TDCJ facilities are never denied access to health care due to an inability to pay, this temporary waiver will encourage timely reporting of COVID-19 symptoms so that offenders are given the treatment they need. 

"As we work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we are committed to protecting the health of individuals in state custody and the dedicated state employees working at TDCJ facilities," Abbott stated in the press release. "Waiving health care fees for offenders housed in TDCJ facilities will ensure that inmates experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 receive immediate medical attention. This suspension will protect the health of both inmates and TDCJ staff, and is a crucial tool in our efforts to mitigate any potential spread of COVID-19 in closely confined populations." 

>> 10:43 a.m. Friday, March 20

Odessa Regional Medical Center organized an employee blood drive to help maintain West Texas region’s blood supply. The ORMC staff donated 53 units in one day. ORMC has scheduled a second blood drive next week.

>> 8:55 p.m. Thursday, March 19

Midland Memorial Hospital has received its first confirmed case of COVID-19, a MMH press release stated. The patient is a man in his sixties is currently an inpatient at MMH. The patient is in isolation and all of the necessary precautions have taken place since the patient became a person under investigation.

>> 5:47 p.m. Thursday, March 19

The Texas Tribune website offers updated numbers on cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) confirmed cases in Texas. As of 7 p.m. Thursday it showed 2,335 tested statewide and there were:

Total Texas positive cases: 161; total Texas deaths: 3.

Dallas County had 20 while Lackland Air Force Base had 18. There were no reported confirmed cases in either Ector or Midland Counties by press time. Officials will not confirm how many have been tested locally.

In the United States, the cdc.gov site, showed 10,442 total cases and 150 deaths as of 7 p.m. Thursday. That was with all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and U.S. Virgin Islands reporting. The data includes both confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19.

Visit the Texas site at dshs.state.tx.us or the CDC site at https: //www.cdc.gov/ coronavirus/2019ncov/cases-in-us.html.

>> 5:16 p.m. Thursday, March 19

The Odessa American offices are closed to walk-in customers until further notice. Anyone wishing to make a payment in person should mail the payment in to 700 N. Grant Suite 800, Odessa, TX 79761.

The only people allowed in the offices other than OA employees will be people making deliveries, which must be left in the reception area of the offices.

Those placing legal ads will be allowed in.

>> 4:13 p.m. Thursday, March 19

The Big Sky Drive-In is closed until further notice.

David Furlow II, Big Sky Drive-In general manager, posted on the company's website that due to the coronavirus spreading through the U.S. the decision has been made to close the Big Sky Drive-In.

>> 2:42 p.m. Thursday, March 19

The City of Odessa stated in a press release that its urging the public to not call the Public Safety Communication’s (911) dispatch with questions regarding Governor Abbott’s recent declaration.

The emergency lines, and non-emergency dispatch lines, need to remain open for police, fire and EMS. If you do have questions about the declaration, you can visit our website: tinyurl.com/sxkvho6 or you can contact the OPD Public Information office at 432-335-3322 or the City Manager’s office at 432-335-3286.

>> 2:36 p.m. Thursday, March 19

Effective immediately, the public lobby entrance to the main Sheriff’s office will be closed until further notice.

If you have a case pending and need to speak with an investigator, call 432-335-3050 and advise that you need to speak to someone in the Criminal Investigation Department to schedule an appointment.

Temporarily changing our routine is absolutely necessary to slow the spread of this pandemic. The gathering of visitors is a concern based on how the virus spreads. With these changes we hope to minimize risk to the public, and staff.

>> 2:15 p.m. Thursday, March 19

Gov. Greg Abbott today announced a series of Executive Orders relating to COVID-19 preparedness and mitigation. The four orders serve to limit public gatherings and help reduce exposure for people across the state. 

Order No. 1: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, every person in Texas shall avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.

Order No. 2: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, people shall avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts, or visiting gyms or massage parlors; provided, however, that the use of drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options is allowed and highly encouraged throughout the limited duration of this executive order.

Order No. 3: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, people shall not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.

Order No. 4: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, schools shall temporarily close.

These orders will be effective on a statewide basis starting at 11:59 PM on March 20, 2020 and will end at 11:59 PM on April 3, 2020, subject to extension thereafter based on the status of COVID-19 in Texas and the recommendations of the CDC.

>> 11:57 a.m. Thursday, March 19

Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency announced Wednesday a collaboration with local education agencies on the Texas Students MealFinder Map which will allow Texas parents to locate LEA facilities serving meals in their communities.

This searchable online map will officially launch on Friday and will include the address of each facility, as well as days and times meals will be served. The map will be available on the TEA website, a news release said. 

The TEA is asking local education agencies and schools to complete an application through the Texas Department of Agriculture’s website to be included in the map. The TDA will collect the information and share the data with the TEA on the locations and operational hours of meal service. The map will be updated continually as more meal sites are added across Texas.

Schools can request guidance on how to fill out the application by emailing: SquareMeals@TexasAgriculture.gov.

>> 11:18 a.m. Thursday, March 19

Texas State Parks to close public-serving facilities and programs beginning at noon today (Thursday) as law enforcement, boat registration offices close to public visitation.

After careful evaluation of the ongoing public health situation, Texas State Parks will be limiting park programming and closing public access to park headquarters, visitor centers and park stores starting at 12 p.m. (today) Thursday.

“Our main priority has always been the health and wellbeing of our visitors and staff, and in order to maintain this standard to the best of our abilities TPWD facilities will be modifying operations as a precautionary step towards protecting public health,” said Carter Smith, Executive Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “While we have worked hard to provide access to state parks through much of Spring Break, we have now reached a point where changes are imperative for safety reasons. I am grateful to our State Parks team and volunteers for their valiant work during this exceedingly difficult time and thank our visitors for their patience and understanding as we continue to evaluate additional measures to ensure the safety of everyone in the parks.”

>> 10:18 a.m. Thursday, March 19

Food 2 Kids Drive up will be available from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at the Boys and Girls Clubs in Odessa, 800 E. 13th St. and 1475 N. Knox Ave. in Odessa.

In Midland, distribution will be at 1321 S. Goode St. They will be distributing weekend food bags for all children that come to the drive thru at those locations. The program is provided through the West Texas Food Bank.

>> 6:07 p.m. Wednesday, March 18

The Texas Tribune website offers updated numbers on cases of COVID19 (coronavirus) confirmed cases in Texas. As of 7 p.m. Wednesday it showed 1,907 tested statewide and there were:

Total Texas positive cases: 95

Dallas County had 15 while Lackland Air Force Base had 12 and Harris County had 10. There were no reported confirmed cases in either Ector or Midland Counties by press time. Officials will not confirm how many have been tested locally.

In the United States, the cdc.gov site, showed 7,038 total cases and 97 deaths as of 7 p.m. Wednesday. That was with all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and U.S. Virgin Islands reporting. The data includes both confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19.

Visit the Texas site at dshs.state.tx.us or the CDC site at https: //www.cdc.gov/ coronavirus/2019ncov/cases-in-us.html.

>> 4:59 p.m. Wednesday, March 18

Stage Stores announces adjusted store hours. To better support its associates, serve customers and slow the spread of COVID-19, Stage Stores and its family of brands (Gordmans, Bealls, Goodys, Palais Royal, Peebles, and Stage) have adjusted store operating hours.  Until further notice, reduced store hours are as follows:

>> Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

>> Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.

Additionally, in compliance with local government orders to shut down all non-essential businesses, as well as other location-based factors, select stores are temporarily closed and will not re-open until circumstances improve, a news release said.

>> 4:49 p.m. Wednesday, March 18

The City of Odessa sent a press release stating that Fire Marshal's Division services are cancelled.

Due to COVID-19, four services have been cancelled until further notice, which includes smoke detector installations, car seat program, fire station tours and fire station visits, the press release stated.

Fire Marshals Division are reportedly asking contractors to call the office for questions t minimize office visits.

>> 3:58 p.m. Wednesday, March 18

Midland Health has partnered with Vitalant to do its part in ensuring local blood banks receive the necessary donations needed to meet basic patient needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Midland Health will host a blood drive from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday in the Vitlalant BloodMobile. The BloodMobile will be located on the east side of the Craddick Medical Office Building on Midland Memorial Hospital grounds. 

Midland County residents in good health are encouraged to make an appointment and donate. All individuals will be screened upon arrival.

For more information and to make an appointment, click here: tinyurl.com/yx6ojd8n.

Residents who believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms should not donate blood. They are asked not to go to the Emergency Department, a health care facility/clinic or the health department to seek testing or treatment. They need to self-isolate and call their primary care physician, contact 68Nurse or see a provider via the BasinMD app to seek guidance.

>> 2:37 p.m. Wednesday, March 18

Midland Memorial Hospital issued a press release stating that it has opened a Drive Through Sample Collection Site for coronavirus testing.

The use of the site is only for those that have met the screening requirements and have an appointment through 68Nurse (432-686- 8773) or as scheduled by your provider. If you feel you have been exposed or are experiencing fever, sore throat, cough and new shortness of breath, please follow the below steps. DO NOT self-report to the Drive Through Sample Collection Site.

Primary Care Provider or 68Nurse will perform the CDC approved screenings. If screening guidelines are met, they will schedule you an appointment at the Drive Through Sample Collection Site and provide you with your next steps.

>> 2:11 p.m. Wednesday, March 18

City of Odessa Mayor David Turner scheduled to issue disaster declaration during a press conference at 3 p.m. today (Wednesday) at the UTPB College of Engineering Building. Turner will issue this declaration in conjunction with the City of Midland and Midland County.

>> 1:44 p.m. Wednesday, March 18

The American Cancer Society won't hold Cattle Baron's Ball this year. The event was scheduled for April 18 at the Midland County Horseshoe Arena and Pavilion.

>> 1:27 p.m. Wednesday, March 18

The American Cancer Society won't hold Cattle Baron's Ball this year. The event was scheduled for April 18 at the Midland County Horseshoe Arena and Pavilion.

A press release from the American Cancer Society stated "Based on the CDC’s recommendations and the direction of our local community to encourage social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, the local American Cancer Society family has made the difficult, yet important decision to not hold this year’s Round Up: A Cattle Baron’s Ball that was scheduled for April 18, 2020 at the Midland County Horseshoe."

If you have further questions, please reach out to your American Cancer Society staff partner Leslie Kitto at 432-889-1013 or Tim Jakel Jr. at 432-853-1001.

>> 10:53 a.m. Wednesday, March 18

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced that he has directed the Department of Public Safety to temporarily waive expiration dates for Driver Licenses, Commercial Driver Licenses and other identification forms. This action falls within the Governor’s State of Disaster Declaration and is part of the ongoing effort to reduce to spread of COVID-19.

“Our top priority remains public health and safety, and we will continue to take action to ensure that Texans can avoid large public gatherings,” Abbott stated in the press release. “Texas is at a pivotal moment in the response to COVID-19, and by temporarily delaying Driver License renewals we will help limit non-essential trips into public settings and slow the spread of this virus.”

This suspension will be in effect until 60 days after the DPS provides further public notice that normal Driver License operations have resumed.

>> 10:49 a.m. Wednesday, March 18

Sparklight is opening WiFi hotspots across its footprint for public use during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis in order to keep individuals and communities connected to the online resources they want and need. Sparklight’s WiFi hotspot can be accessed in the Sparklight local office parking lot, located at 4701 E. 52nd St. Additionally, Sparklight announced that as of March 13,  it is making unlimited data available on all internet services for 30 days, as well as offering payment deferrals and waiving late fees for its customers for 60 days. The company plans to reassess after 30 days based on the continued impact and evolving nature of the virus. Customers can call 877-692-2253 for more information.

>> 10:22 a.m. Wednesday, March 18

Press release from Ector County Justice of Peace 2 Missi Walden:

Special Announcement from Ector County Justice of the Peace Offices Regarding Changes Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Beginning at 8:00 a.m. on March 17, 2020, the Ector County Justice of the Peace offices will be closed to the public.  Essential Court Proceedings can still be heard by appointment only.  Please contact the appropriate office by email or phone to make an appointment.  Contact numbers and emails are listed on our website.

“Essential Court Proceedings” are defined as writs of re-entry, writs of retrieval, writs of restoration, magistration of defendants in custody and repair and remedy cases that materially affect the physical health or safety of a tenant.

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