Good morning! Here is what's on Good Day Lubbock this morning 5-9 a.m. on FOX34.
Temperatures will warm rather quickly today, high near 80 with a breezy south/southwest wind 15-25mph. Cold front move through our area tonight with increasing low clouds and a strong northerly wind, low near 35. Wind speeds calm through Friday with highs dropping around 20 degrees. Milder into the weekend with 70s expected and strong wind speeds for Saturday.
Dozens benefit from Covenant's drive-thru testing
Last Tuesday, Covenant launched rapid testing for COVID-19. The drive-thru clinic has already tested 175 people for the virus. While the test has given quick results, a doctor there says it's just as important they are able to let people know who have been exposed much more quickly, and flattening the curve has given the hospital much more flexibility. Not everyone who goes to the site will get a test. We have a link to the criteria and the testing hours in the FOX34 news app.
The City of Lubbock has confirmed 37 new cases of coronavirus
That matches the city's highest daily increase last recorded on Sunday. This brings the total number of cases in Lubbock County to 367 with 25 deaths attributed to the virus. 253 cases are active. 89 are listed as recovered. That means they've gone three days without symptoms, after showing them for at least a week. More than half of all confirmed cases and most of the deaths reported are associated with nursing homes in our area. Those cases jumped by 22, 195 total. 58 cases are considered community spread. That means staffers can't determine where someone got the virus. 17 healthcare workers have been infected. 28 patients with confirmed cases are in the hospital for treatment. The city reports the many testing sites around the county have administered more than 3.800 tests with 426 positives and 72 tests pending.
With students out of town and businesses closed, revenue from sales taxes will likely be down significantly in the next couple months
County Judge Curtis Parrish tells us he will not raise the property tax rate to make up for that. He says March's returns were actually a little higher than February, but this month and the next couple will likely be down compared to the same time last few years. It's the fall Judge Parrish says he's worried about. If the economy isn't able to recover in time, or if health mandates further affect schools and businesses later this year, he says the budget will have to shrink. County commissioners will begin the budget process for next year in late July. It's set for adoption before the end of September.
Lubbock Congressman Jodey Arrington wants the government to support rural hospitals with small business loans
He's asked the Trump administration to change small business administration rules, allowing them to qualify for federal support. That would be the same "paycheck protection program" available to many other small businesses throughout the nation. The congressman says that would allow these critical points of care to stay open through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. In many rural communities, hospitals and medical centers are the largest local employers. 84 other representatives have signed on to this change.
Senator Ted Cruz says he plans to file more response bills
One of them would target expanding health care access. The "equal access to care act" would allow licensed doctors to treat patients in other states using telemedicine. As long as the doctor is licensed in a state he or she would be able to support patients nation-wide. He suggests this would allow more Americans to get treatment without leaving their homes, and would free up hospitals and health care providers to treat patients who require in person care. Another bill would expand testing. The "right to test act" would give states the authority to approve and distribute their own tests during a public health emergency. That would cut the FDA and the CDC out of the process. Senator Cruz says the early delays at those agencies shield states back. He says changing that would allow the states to more rapidly respond to evolving health needs. The senator calls both of these proposals a way to remove bureaucratic barriers that stood in the way of effective treatments.
Lubbock County will dip into its reserve funds to help its employees and protect their jobs
County Judge Curtis Parrish says it's providing full pay and benefits to all employees impacted by the virus. That includes anyone who may catch the virus or someone who's forced to take time off to take care of their kids. He says the commissioners are committed to protecting those jobs. Judge Parrish says he anticipates that policy to last for the entire outbreak. After that, he says the court will revisit it.
More than 1.2 million Texans have applied for unemployment benefits since mid-March
That's a year and a half of applications in a month, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. The state has paid out more than $400M in benefits. 183 million of that, went out Monday alone. These benefits now include $600 in federal money, as part of expanded benefits. The commission is adding hundreds of employees to answer calls and enroll, including using staff from the state house and senate. You can call in and apply online. Make sure you also request payment, not just submit the application. You have to request payment every two weeks. Payments can be back-dated as far as March 8th. We have a link for more info on applying and receiving your benefits in the FOX34 news app.
Human remains found
Multiple agencies are investigating after Hockley County sheriff's deputies found human remains at a property near the 2800 block of Santa Fe road. The Lubbock County Sheriff's Office, Lubbock Police, Levelland Police, and South Plains Forensic Pathology are assisting with the investigation. Investigators haven't yet identified the remains or the cause of death.
A suspect is now in jail after a road rage incident
Kasimiro Rodriguez is accused of shooting and wounding a woman near the MCM Elegante Monday night. Police say 66-year-old Margreta Zamarripa was pulling out of the hotel's parking lot and nearly hit Rodriguez's car. Witnesses told police that made Rodriguez angry, and he shot at her vehicle, seriously wounding her. Surveillance video helped police track him down. He's now held on $150,000 bond, charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. If convicted, Rodriguez faces up to 20 years in prison.
Look Around Lubbock: My Place Hotel Lubbock
Meredith Aldis takes a look at how this hotel is staying sanitized and helping our first responders during the coronavirus pandemic.
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