WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Coronavirus cases have been surging in Wichita Falls, causing the city to be ranked among the top 50 cities where COVID-19 is growing fastest.
Wichita Falls ranks 47 out of 50 as of June 24, and the average new daily cases for the week of June 18 to June 24 ranks 71 out of 384 metropolitan areas.
Lou Kreidler, Wichita County Director of Health, said Wichita Falls has gone from a 1.4% positivity rate to a 13% positivity rate in just the past two weeks, with a record-high 45 cases reported Tuesday, June 30.
Kreidler said she finds these stats alarming.
From June 11 to June 24, Wichita Falls has gone from an average of 1.5 new cases per 100,000 people a day, to an average 7.3 new cases per 100,000 people a day.
With Fourth of July celebrations on the horizon, Kreidler said the public needs to take proper precautions.
“Once you’ve decided to go to that party, take your mask'” Kreidler said. “If you can’t social distance from those individuals around you even if they’re family members, you need to wear your mask.”
Kreidler said the public needs to be cautious even during family gatherings.
“We’ve had several instances since Father’s Day weekend where we’ve had families that have gotten together to celebrate their dads, which is wonderful, but we’ve had positive cases that have come out of that so we’ve had family exposures,” Kreidler said.
Some Wichita Falls residents are taking proper safety measures.
“I think masks should be mandatory,” Brad Samuelson, a resident of Wichita Falls said, “If you’re outside, you should be wearing a mask. Inside your car and inside your house, then you don’t have to. But outside, I think masks should be mandatory.”
Some residents aren’t fully convinced that masks work.
“That’s been a proven fact that wearing a mask, you breathe in your own bacteria that you may have, and it’s gonna develop pleurisy,” Phillip Townsend, another Wichita Falls resident said. “Pleurisy is an infection of the lining of the lungs. I don’t want that either.”
Even as some doubt the effectiveness of mask, Kreidler said people who are wearing masks, social distancing and washing their hands are doing the right things.
Kreidler also urges residents to monitor their own health, and to stay home if they feel ill.