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Local Covid-19 situation shows downward trend

Active cases of Covid-19 continue to trend downward with the total number of active cases falling to 85 Thursday from 108 reported on October 13.

The total number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Hockley County since the start of the pandemic is at 3,554 and probable cases is at 697.

The number of people who have died from complications related to Covid-19 has risen by three since October 13 to 132.

The number of recoveries from Covid-19 has also risen from 3,860 reported on October 13 to 4,011 as of Thursday.

Cole Kirkland, emergency management coordinator for Levelland and Hockley County, said locally, Covid-19 numbers are continuing to trend in a positive direction.

He said the hospital capacity related to the percentage of Covid-19 patients out of all patients in the hospital within Trauma Service Area B continues to trend below 10 percent.

“We’re still trending below 10 percent like we have been,” Kirkland said.

He said the status at the local hospital, Covenant Health Levelland, also continues to be positive in relation to Covid-19 cases.

“The hospital status, as far as I know, is that we don’t have many patients in the hospital,” Kirkland said. “So far, I know PPE is holding up and we’re not being overrun anywhere, as far as I know. We are adequately sustaining right now.”

Kirkland said that vaccines are still being distributed through the clinics and local pharmacies and will continue to be distributed that way, even with the addition of booster shots that were recently approved by the CDC.

Ty Gregory, pharmacist at United, said the CDC recently approved booster shots for Moderna and Johnson and Johnson and said the pharmacy has been distributing booster shots for the Pfizer vaccine for the past month.

“We’ve been giving booster shots for Pfizer now for almost a month for immunocompromised individuals and then we began doing them for individuals older tha n18 who had their first shot of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago,” Gregory said. “With the new ones that have come out, if they had Moderna or Johnson and Johnson, they are able to get a booster shot and can mix and match it with any of the three.

“They recommend to stay with the one they got originally, but if you can’t, go ahead and get a booster of another variety,” Gregory said.

For Johnson and Johnson, Gregory said individuals can receive a booster two months after receiving the vaccine.

“On Johnson and Johnson, they can get a booster as quick as two months after their first shot,” Gregory said.

Gregory said the traffic for booster shots has been good with many people taking advantage of the opportunity to increase their antibodies against Covid-19.

“We’ve had quite a few and are doing quite a few of them, it’s been moving pretty good,” Gregory said. “Antibodies seem to trail off and when they start to show a decline is typically six months after the second vaccination.

That’s the idea behind why we need a booster and it’s a good idea to get it.”

Anyone wishing to receive a first or second dose of the Pfizer vaccine can receive one from the United Pharmacy in Levelland as a walk-in. Gregory said they can also schedule an appointment through the online scheduler at https://www.unitedsupermarkets.com/covid-19-vaccine.

The pharmacy also has Pfizer booster shots available and expects to have Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines and boosters available, soon.

The pharmacy is also offering flu shots right now, which the CDC recently said can be received at the same time as a Covid-19 vaccine without any wait time.

“The good thing about flu shots now is the CDC has lifted the restrictions and people can get a Covid vaccine and a flu shot at the same time with no delay,” Gregory said.

Kirkland added that the county will continue to push out the vaccines through the local clinics and pharmacies.

“The pharmacies and our clinics are our two primary providers,” Kirkland said. “It’s so convenient for everybody.”

Kirkland said that because Hockley County doesn’t have a health department, it is more strained for resources when it comes to mass distribution of vaccines.

“We are a limited-resource county and we don’t have a health department,” Kirkland said. “Everything we’ve done with vaccine distribution has been on a volunteer basis, which put a strain on everybody.”

Kirkland is optimistic that with more booster shots and broader guidelines for vaccines being approved, the county will continue on a positive track.

“We’re just holding strong and everything is going in the right direction,” Kirkland said.

According to the Department of State Health Services, 53.29 percent of the population older than 12 in Hockley County has received at least one dose of the vaccine and 47.02 percent of the population older than 12 has been fully vaccinated.

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