Good morning! Here is what's on Good Day Lubbock this morning 5-9 a.m. on FOX34.
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High near 85; clouds will move in from the north
A nice first half of the day, then wind speeds become breezy from the southwest 12-20mph. Temperatures quickly climb with the high near 85, some clouds move in during the day from the north. A front moves in over night dropping highs a few degrees with 70s and low 80s Friday and a breezy northwest wind. Coolest day in the forecast Saturday with lower to mid 70s, then a rapid climb in temperatures into next week.
The health department has confirmed one additional death and a dozen new cases attributed to the novel coronavirus in Lubbock
That brings the total number of deaths to 39. The total number of confirmed cases is now 470. Of the confirmed cases, 219 are related to nursing homes. 28 are health care workers. 26 cases are still under investigation. 143 people have recovered. City Manager Jarrett Atkinson says the city's adding an average of 300 tests a day. That was part of his briefing to city council yesterday. He says that's expected to go even higher, as Covenant adds rapid testing. Today, a third drive-through location will open in South Lubbock, part of a partnership with the Walmart at 114th and Quaker. On top of that there will be another testing location opening next week. The city will add drive-up testing by appointment at the Patterson Library. You'll call or e-mail to reserve a spot, do minimal paperwork, do the swab in your car, and leave. It'll then be sent off to a lab. Atkinson expects that to start Wednesday. The city manager says Lubbock's rate of infections and hospitalizations means it has more than enough hospital space. During that update to council, Atkinson said the city has about 650 surplus beds available to treat severe cases of the virus. He notes, that could change as hospitals begin performing elective procedures again. Atkinson expects updated data on that effect in a couple weeks.
Carillon Senior Living Center reports two employees and one resident have tested positive for the virus
All three are in quarantine. Administrators say staff have been frequently and rigorously cleaning the facility, and screening employees daily. The employees all have to wear masks and gloves while caring for residents. No visitors have been allowed at nursing homes or similar communities since COVID-19's known onset in our area.
A sub-contractor's positive test result has halted work on the Buddy Holly Hall
Lee Lewis Construction reports an electrician called out of work Tuesday feeling ill, then tested positive. The company has halted all work on the site through Monday, so crews can sanitize and disinfect it. All employees who worked with the person who tested positive are going into quarantine for two weeks.
The federal government will start reimbursing free-standing emergency rooms through Medicare and Medicaid
This change will allow those facilities to treat patients on those programs and get paid back. Previously, either the customer would pay out of pocket, or the ER would eat the cost. The CEO of Star ER says this will allow these facilities to better support hospitals while they fight the spread of COVID-19. In Texas there are more than 1,500 beds available in 200 locations. Many also have the capacity to use tele-medicine to offer more doctor support.
The director of the key federal agency involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine says his departure was retaliation
Doctor Rick Bright led the biomedical advanced research and development authority or BARDA, since 2016. That is until Tuesday when he was reassigned to a narrower position. Bright released a statement yesterday saying he believes the move was due to his insistence that the government should not invest in vaccines but instead "into safe and scientifically vetted solutions. He says drugs, vaccines, and other technologies "lack scientific merit" and are politically motivated. Bright says he will file a whistle blower complaint with the Department of Health and Human Service's inspector general.
In a matter of hours, the house is expected to vote on a nearly $500B package to help small businesses
This is the fourth bipartisan coronavirus bill and it'll replenish the paycheck protection program, offering forgivable loans to small businesses to keep their staffs paid. Supporters are already warning that more money will be needed, but battle lines are forming over the next measure amid growing demands to help out state and local governments, the postal service and first responders.
Look Around Lubbock: Two Docs Brewing Co. & The Nicolett
Meredith Aldis features our local businesses and an in-depth look at how their servicing the community while upholding the federal, state, and local orders during the coronavirus pandemic.
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