ODESSA, Texas ( Big 2 / Fox 24) – With COVID-19 cases still active here in the basin, medical experts say the best way to protect yourself from contracting the virus is wearing a face mask.
David Turner, Mayor of the city of Odessa, said he’s glad to see local COVID-19 cases go down in hospitals. But with over 700 active cases in Ector County, he says there is till work to be done by the community.
“You know we have seen the positive rate go down,” Turner said. ” But it’s not where we need it.”
It has been over a month since Governor Greg Abbott enforced a statewide mask mandate to help slow the spread of COVID-19. But the city of Odessa has issued zero citations to violators of the ordinance. Mayor Turner said wearing a mask is being enforced in other ways.
“One thing we have seen is the stores have decided that if you come in you have to wear a mask,” Turner said. “So it is being policed a lot by individual businesses.”
While Odessa police are issuing warnings, the department said they have been responding to multiple calls about mask violators every week. But turner said the public is doing better job in wearing a mask around others.
“At one point this was all new, people didn’t understand and you know it takes a little while for people to educate themselves but now we are seeing it,” Turner said. ” People are wearing their masks, people would walk up to a store turn around and go back to their car and get their mask, so I think that is really helping.”
And as local hospitals are seeing a decline of COVID patients, the mayor is encouraging Odessans to keep practicing the right safety measures in public.
“This is our normal for now, I hope this is not our normal forever, but we have to get through this,” Turner said. “We have had quite a few people sick, now we’re in the schools we want to make sure those kids are safe, make sure the teachers are safe and many times it’s trough community spread.”
By slowing community spread, Turner hopes the city will be able to control the outbreak.
” I’m hoping that we move towards spring we ca get out of it,” Turner said. “You know people are going to catch COVID it’s like catching the cold we just want to be able to manage that and that’s the key, especially for our hospitals.”