FROM PCG: Follow Guidelines, Do Your Part to Stop The Spread of COVID-19
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Information in this article is current as of the time of this writing – 2:15 p.m. 3/25/20)
March 25, 2020
By Mary Jane Buerkle
It’s now been well over a week since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported on the Texas High Plains, and every day, news of additional confirmed cases and deaths across the region, state and nation further remind us of the gravity of the situation and the need to control the spread.
As of this writing, in the PCG service area, there have been two confirmed deaths from COVID-19, one in Amarillo of an Oldham county resident and one in Midland. Several area counties have confirmed COVID-19 cases, with more reported each day.
“It is absolutely critical to abide by all federal, state and local recommendations and mandates regarding gatherings, social distancing, and anything else designed to help prevent further spread of this virus,” PCG CEO Steve Verett said. “Often, being in rural areas, we think we may be isolated from issues surrounding COVID-19 and feel a relative layer of protection. I cannot emphasize enough that this is not the case with the current pandemic. We all are susceptible and should be taking all proper precautions to prevent the spread.”
At the time of this writing, at least one case of the virus has been confirmed in Lubbock, Hockley, Terry, Gaines, Hale, Castro, Randall, Oldham, Deaf Smith and Midland counties in the PCG service area.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has issued a series of executive orders over the past several days to combat the virus and minimize risk to public health including capping social gatherings at 10 people; temporarily closing schools, gyms, bars and dine-in areas in restaurants; restricting access to nursing homes and retirement centers unless providing critical assistance; and expanding hospital capacity. As of right now (2:15 p.m. 3/25/20), Texas has not yet followed other states in issuing a shelter-in-place order, although many counties in the state have, including Castro County in the PCG service area.
PCG continues to remain directly in contact with vested governing authorities at the federal, state and local level, advocating for agriculture to continue to be considered as an essential critical infrastructure workforce as laid out in the March 19, DHS guidelines. As the response to COVID-19 continues, Verett said it is imperative that individuals do their part and follow precautionary measures even while operating as a critical infrastructure workforce.
“We know that agriculture cannot stop, especially as we move toward planting season in our region,” Verett said. “These measures are temporary but absolutely necessary to help preserve lives, and what we do now with regard to social distancing and following CDC guidelines certainly and directly will impact how quickly we recover from this crisis.”