On May 13, Abbott said the city had 182 positive cases which turned into 734 three days later. But on May 25, after a Surge Team and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had been sent in, zero new cases occurred.
At the time of the flare up, 5,674 tests had been conducted in Randall and Potter counties. Abbott added that the hospitalization and positive testing rates have remained steady since the Surge Team was dispatched.
“This is exactly what we’ve seen in surge areas after response teams have been sent,” he added.
Abbott further added that he does anticipate a spike later this week in positive cases, to be followed by a steady decrease in the positive rate.
The state’s 7-day positive rate is 5.25 percent, which shows an adequate containment of COVID-19 according to the White House’s task force.
Testing in Texas continues to expand as its 2-day average is currently over 20,000 across the state.
Abbott noted that three types of institutions often pose an outsized risk of flare up. Those are nursing homes, jails/prisons, and meat-packing facilities. Amarillo, Abbott added, has all three of these that contributed to the flare up it experienced.
Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson said that on May 13, she sent a letter to the governor’s office and within an hour she was on the phone with his office. Shortly thereafter, the governor himself reached out.
Abbott then spoke to Vice President Mike Pence and a CDC response team was dispatched to the panhandle.
While thanking the governor for his rapid response, Nelson added that “A lot of people,” locally and outside of the city, “have put their hands to the plow and gotten us through this.”
Moving forward, Nelson noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has really highlighted some needs of her rural community such as improved internet access — as classes and work have transitioned online — and attracting more economic development.
Both Abbott and Nelson stressed that the situation is not over but were optimistic after preventing the spiral out of control.
“While many people are suffering from coronavirus, many more are suffering economically from the shutdowns,” Abbott emphasized, noting the next reopening phase nearing.
According to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services COVID dashboard, Potter County has 1,800 active cases and Randall has 493.
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Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.