As I’m writing this introduction, the Governor of Texas has placed the reopening of the State on pause and has enacted further constraints on bars, size of gatherings and outdoor river activities. All of these measures and possibly even more in the future are in response to the rapid rise of new infections in the State including Galveston County and the City of Galveston.
In announcing these new constraints Governor Abbott stated “As I said from the start, if the positivity rate rose above 10%, the State of Texas would take further action.” Just a few days ago Galveston County was 13.8% and climbing.
What makes this rise so alarming in Galveston and around the nation is that the increase in the percentage of new infections is not necessarily tied to the amount of testing and that the largest amount of cases are in those in the 20 to 30 age range. Individuals in this age group usually show no or milder symptoms and don’t add to the hospitalization statistics.
Experts say people in their 20s and 30s are also more likely to go out socializing and seem to not take the concern as seriously. This is raising concerns that asymptomatic young people are helping to spread the virus to more vulnerable Americans, at a time when cases are surging dangerously.
“Is it the governor’s reopening? Is it Memorial Day? Is it the demonstrations? Is it going to the beach?” said Eric Boerwinkle, dean of the UTHealth School of Public Health in Houston. “We don’t really know, but probably all of those things are contributing.”
Here in Galveston the City is working to be as proactive as possible, given the Governor’s Orders, in controlling the rise of infections.
A few of the measures recently enacted are the approval of a Mask Ordinance, maintaining virtual meetings for all City functions, supporting legal measures to control non permitted events, providing financial resources for free testing of frontline restaurant, grocery store and hospitality personnel and looking into organizing a Coalition with other Texas Coastal Cities to support control measures that are unique to our communities.
I wish I could tell you that this will end soon, but the reality is we will be dealing with some form of this concern for a long time. During that time my goal is to provide a safe as possible environment for all our residents, while understanding that our long term goal is to have the economy reopen and avoid a second lockdown that would be devastating to everyone concerned.
Stay Safe and Secure this summer !