WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — On October 19, local health officials called a news conference at United Regional to make an urgent plea for citizens to follow recommendations on COVID-19 and Wichita Falls city councilors are doing the same.
When Director of Public Health, Lou Kreidler, gave her COVID-19 report to the council, a few of them expressed their concerns for the city over the next few months.
“This may be the darkest period up to date of the pandemic,” District 1 councilor Michael Smith said.
Just 20 days into October, Wichita County has seen more than 1,100 additional covid-19 cases, compared to just over 1,800 in the previous 5 months.
With United Regional now near capacity in their COVID units, city leaders are urging the public to take safety measures seriously.
“We’re in a big problem area with the fact that COVID is increasing so dramatically it’s affecting our normal everyday medical needs,” Smith said.
“A lot of the correspondence I’m getting through email is people asking ‘Is there something the state can do? Can the state step in?’ The state’s not gonna change our behavior,” Wichita Falls mayor Stephen Santellana said. “The state can supplement our PPE or do something else.”
Kreidler said every city department has been affected by COVID-19.
Kreidler also listed some possible reasons for the recent spike.
“It is a combination of many factors including individuals going to work sick because they thought they had allergies. It is individuals not wearing a mask or wearing them improperly. It is people having or attending parties, events and celebrations and again not social distancing or wearing a mask,” Kriedler said.
Even though fewer than 1% of Wichita County patients have died from COVID, city leaders are pleading for citizens to act responsibly.
“This thing is not over, it’s not going away. We gotta all work together is all I can say. What else can we say? It’s up to you,” Smith said.
As the holiday season approaches, Kreidler also advises people to make wise decisions that will slow the spread of COVID-19.