Hockley County is One of the First Counties Participating in the Governor’s “Save our Seniors” Initiative

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has announced an initiative, “Save our Seniors” in conjunction with the Texas Department of Emergency Management and the Texas Military Department. The purpose of the initiative is to ensure more seniors are vaccinated throughout the state.

The state has allocated up to 8,000 vaccine doses for the first week of the program, which the state will use in partnership with local officials and service organizations to target Texans who are 75 years and older or homebound. TDEM and TMD will work alongside local jurisdictions to set up a central drive-through vaccine clinic in the community or administer directly to homebound seniors — these decisions will be driven by local jurisdictions based on their most vulnerable identified individuals.

“The Save Our Seniors program will help us reach vulnerable homebound seniors across the state and provide them with live-saving COVID-19 vaccines,” said Governor Abbott. “As more communities are identified and selected for the program, we will be able to get more shots in arms and further strengthen our response to this virus.” 

Hockley County is the only county on the south plains to be part of the first round of the program. Other counties include, Aransas, Bastrop, Brewster, Brooks, Brown, Cass, Dallas, Eastland, Freestone, Gray, Hill, Hudspeth, Hutchinson, Irion, Lee, McCulloch, Medina, Morris, Panola, Rains, Refugio, Robertson, San Jacinto, Shelby, and Webb.

In coordination with local and state partners, counties and cities have been selected based on data provided from DSHS related to the following factors:

  1. The state targeted areas with ongoing high hospitalizations;
  2. The state looked at the number of approved providers serving the area;
  3. The state took into account areas who reported no more than approximately a third vaccinated for seniors;
  4. The state took into account total allocations over the previous 12 weeks;
  5. The state utilized data showing the least vaccinated counties for both 65+ and 75+ administered doses;
  6. The state focused on allocating vaccine equitably across the state.   
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Active Case Count Increases in Hockley County Due to A Reporting Error by the State Health Department

A recent report from the Texas Department of State Health Services indicated a substantial increase in active COVID-19 cases mainly due to a recent reporting error from the health department.

As of late last week the health department showed Hockley County to have only 4 active cases of COVID-19, however that was due to approximately 50 cases being reported as recoveries, when in fact they were active cases.

Based on the latest report Hockley County has four new cases, three new probable cases and 2,168 recoveries, leaving 59 active cases. The hospitalization rate for Trauma Service Area B which Hockley County is a part of is at 4.57%.

Hockley County has a total of 2,055 of COVID-19 cases with 270 probable cases, 98 deaths and 2,168 recoveries leaving 59 active cases.

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Hockley County Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic

Hockley County will be hosting another Covid-19 vaccination clinic Friday, February 26 at the Mallet Event Center. Local officials are receiving an allocation of 300 Moderna Covid-19 vaccinations, and registration isunderway for appointments. Friday’s vaccination clinic will be for Pfizer second dose and Moderna first dose. All Pfizer second dose recipients were scheduled for appointments after receiving the first dose on February 5. If there are any Moderna vaccines left over, walk-ins will be accepted for the first does Moderna starting at 5pm.

“We are thrilled to receive another vaccine allocation. We have fielded numerous phone calls from Hockley County citizens who are eager to get vaccinated,” said Hockley County Judge, Sharla Baldridge.

The Hockley County Vaccination Clinic will be held Friday, February 26, at the Mallet Event Center on Hwy 385 South, from 9am-7pm.

“Citizens who have registered in the I-Info system will be receiving alerts about setting an appointment for their vaccination. So, if you’re not signed up yet, you need to do that now,” said Cole Kirkland, City of Levelland and Hockley County Emergency Management Coordinator. The notifications come in the form of text messages and email messages. Citizens are encouraged to get signed up for Covid Vaccine notifications in order to set an appointment at http://r.i-info.com/Levelland/COVIDVacUpdate.
“If there are citizens who simply don’t have the technology required to form an I-Info account, (cell phone or computer) those citizens can call 806-568-5424 or 806-568-5425 for assistance,” said Kirkland.

Spartan Transportation is providing fare-free rides to get vaccines. Call 894-3800 for information.

Citizens are reminded that at this time, only citizens in the 1-A and 1-B group are eligible for the vaccine.

Texas Phase 1A Vaccine Priorities

• Paid and unpaid workers in hospital settings working directly with patients who are positive or at high risk for COVID-19. Such as but not limited to:

o Physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and other support staff (custodial staff, etc.)
o Additional clinical staff providing supporting laboratory, pharmacy, diagnostic and/or rehabilitation
o Others having direct contact with patients or infectious materials

Long-term care staff working directly with vulnerable residents. Includes:

o Direct care providers at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and state supported living centers
o Physicians, nurses, personal care assistants, custodial, food service staff
• EMS providers who engage in 9-1-1 emergency services like pre-hospital care and transport
• Home health care workers, including hospice care, who directly interface with vulnerable and high-risk patients
• Residents of long-term care facilities

Texas Phase 1B Vaccine Priorities

• People 65 years of age and older
• People 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk
for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, such as but not limited to:
• Cancer
• Chronic kidney disease
• COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
• Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies
• Solid organ transplantation
• Obesity and severe obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher)
• Pregnancy
• Sickle cell disease
• Type 2 diabetes mellitus

“We’ve been very fortunate to be able to collaborate between Hockley County, City of Levelland, Covenant Health-Levelland, South Plains Community Action to formulate the best possible plan for this event. We have been working diligently to acquire more local vaccine,” said Baldridge.
For more information, email covidvaccine@levellandtexas.org.

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COVID-19 Cases Continue to Decrease in Hockley County

It was good news for Hockley County on Wednesday when the Texas Department of State Health Services released the updated COVID-19 report.

The new report showed 4 new cases of COVID-19 along with 1 new probable case and 74 new recoveries. Based on the new information, there are 2,051 total cases of COVID-19 with 267 probable cases, 98 deaths and 2,216 recoveries leaving only 4 active cases in Hockley County. This is the lowest number of active cases in Hockley County since late spring of 2020.

The hospitalization rate for Trauma Service Area B which Hockley County is a part of continues to decline, sitting at 4.94%.

The Texas Department of Health Services has also released vaccination numbers. As of Wednesday, 3,007 Hockley County residents have received their first round of the vaccine and 1,144 residents have received both of their vaccines.

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Levelland ISD Releases Information on a Firearm Brought to the High School by a Student Tuesday

Levelland ISD Superintendent Jeff Northern released information on an investigation by district and law enforcement officials of a firearm brought to the high school near the end of the school day on Tuesday.

According to the statement, district administration was alerted that a student may have “brought a gun” to the High School Tuesday. Immediately, the District’s administration and resource officers began investigating this alleged threat and took direct and deliberate measures to ensure the safety of its students and employees. The District’s investigation did reveal that a firearm was in fact brought to the school by a student.

Possession of a firearm on school property by a student is an extremely serious violation of the Student Code of Conduct, District policy and is a criminal matter. This incident is being treated as such. All required actions concerning this matter have been taken by the District and law enforcement. State and Federal law prohibit the District from disclosing personally identifiable student information. Therefore, the District cannot provide further information on this matter.

The District will continue to fully cooperate with all authorities having jurisdiction over this matter as needed and to the fullest extent permitted by law. If a parent or student knows of a person who has brought a weapon to school or if other threats to school safety are present, the district encourages those individuals to notify the police or school administration immediately.

“As Superintendent of Schools, I am very proud of the students, staff and resource officers for the prompt and proactive measures taken in resolving this situation.” said Jeff Northern.

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COVID-19 Update for Hockley County Released

The Texas Department of State Health Services report on COVID-19 cases in Hockley County has been updated.

The report shows an additional 27 cases over the past week with 50 new recoveries and five new probable cases.

Based on the new information, Hockley County has a total of 2,047 cases with 266 probable cases, 98 deaths and 2,142 recoveries leaving 73 active cases. The hospitalization rate continues to decline with a rate currently at 5.08% as of Monday.

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Area Fire Departments Battle A Structure Fire in Morton

Area fire departments responded to a structure fire in Morton Tuesday afternoon.

According to fire reports the structure was fully engulfed upon arrival, Morton immedicately requested assistance from the Whiteface Volunteer Fire Department and the Levelland Fire Department also sent a truck and personnel to assist.

The Whiteface Volunteer Fire Department responded with two trucks and six personnel to assist. They helped to bring the fire under control and accountability of personnel as well as rehab of firefighters. Levelland Fire Department also had personnel and equipment on the scene assisting.

Trucks were back in service shortly after 5:00 pm Tuesday evening.

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Atmos Energy Asks All Customers to Conserve Energy

Demand for natural gas continues to be at unprecedented levels. Atmos Energy appreciates your conservation efforts during this historic winter storm, which will continue with record low temperatures and additional snowfall overnight.

Atmos Energy urges all residents and businesses to continue to conserve energy to help maintain service for our most critical human needs customers.

Conservation Reminders:

  1. Lower your thermostat to at least 68 degrees
  2. Businesses should minimize energy usage as much as possible
  3. Lower water heater temperature to 120 degrees
  4. Never use an oven or a gas stovetop to heat your home
  5. Unplug electronic devices and turn off lights that are not in use
  6. Reduce shower times
  7. Refrain from using your washer, dryer, oven and dishwasher the next several days
  8. Keep your fireplace damper closed except when a fire is burning
  9. Avoid using any Natural Gas fireplace

Atmos Energy reminds customers to heed the guidance of local leaders and stay alert to changing weather conditions in their area. Our teams are working around the clock to provide safe and reliable service, and we appreciate your patience during this historic weather event.

If you think you smell gas, act fast! Leave the area immediately and from a safe distance call 911 and the Atmos Energy emergency number at 866.322.8667.

Atmos Energy encourages customers needing solutions to keep up with their monthly natural gas expenses to contact Atmos Energy’s customer service team at 888.286.6700.

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Xcel Energy Declares Energy Emergency, Initiates Controlled Outages

Persistent deficiencies in natural gas supplies that fuel power plants in the central U.S., including Xcel Energy power plants in Texas and New Mexico, are threatening area utilities’ ability to meet customer demand.

To protect the regional grid and maintain reliability, Xcel Energy, along with area electric co-ops and municipal utilities such as Lubbock Power & Light that purchase electricity from Xcel Energy, have been forced to interrupt power to pre-selected electric circuits for up to one hour at a time until system conditions improve. Interruptions began at 6:45 a.m.

More than one service interruption may be possible. There is no need to report an outage during a controlled outage event. If customers experience a service interruption of more than one hour they should contact 1-800-895-1999 or report the outage at xcelenergy.com or through the Xcel Energy customer app.

“Natural gas production is off because of the extreme cold, and supplies are freezing up in the wellfields, limiting the amount of gas that can be delivered over pipelines to power plants across the region and beyond. This is occurring across multiple states, including all of Texas.” said David Hudson, president, Xcel Energy – New Mexico, Texas.

Xcel Energy is a member of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), which manages the electric grid across 17 central and western U.S. states and provides energy services on a contract basis to customers in both the Eastern and Western Interconnections. Xcel Energy initiated controlled outages after SPP called on its members to relieve loading on the central U.S. grid, affecting electric customers in multiple states.

Xcel Energy has notified local governments and law enforcement officials so they can be prepared to direct vehicular traffic if traffic signals are affected.

Controlled outages last between 30 minutes to an hour and are spread over the entire footprint of the company’s Texas-New Mexico area in order to minimize disruptions. As the controlled outage is cycled, a different group of customers will be interrupted in the subsequent set.

“We appreciate everything our customers are doing to conserve energy, and we know these power issues are disruptive,” Hudson said. “As the temperatures warm, we expect the system to recover quickly and in the meantime are doing everything we can to stretch fuel supplies for our generating fleet in this region.”

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44 New Cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, 46 New Recoveries

The Texas Department of State Health Services released new COVID19 numbers on Tuesday.

They confirmed 44 new cases in Hockley County with two new probable cases and 46 new recoveries.

Based on the new information, there are a total of 1,968 cases of COVID19 in Hockley County with 232 probable cases, 97 deaths and 2,012 recoveries, leaving 91 active cases. The hospitalization rate for Trauma Service Area B which Hockley County is a part of, was up slightly as of Tuesday, at 8.15%.

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