Midland officials discuss spike in cases and future action

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MIDLAND, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – In a virtual press conference Thursday afternoon, MISD Superintendent Orlando Riddick says the school district is taking steps to keep the community safe after a official tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday evening.

Fears of community spread come from the June 22nd MISD Board meeting where this official was present. The meeting was held at the Bowie Fine Arts Center.

Anyone who was in close contact with the individual has been informed and Riddick urges people to monitor their symptoms until July 7.

While the entire building is not closed at this time, all places where the affected employee was at have been deep cleaned. This included the auditorium, the room where officials meet before the meeting and the restrooms and hallways the individual used. Those areas will be closed for the next fourteen days as a precaution.

The superintendent says he feels confident in the plan MISD implemented before the meeting.

As of now, MISD is not ruling out holding the July board meeting at the auditorium. Riddick says the decision will come after more time has passed and they have more information about cases in the Permian Basin.

Riddick also discussed the beginning of the school year, saying strategies they can put in place now will be helpful when the students head back to classrooms.

Full MISD COVID-19 briefing

Riddick emphasized that this is just the beginning for MISD. He said, “There is a storm coming August 19th … Like any storm, there are things you aren’t prepared for.”

He also took time to mention online learning options and another public survey the district will be sending to parents.

“We have a public health epidemic on our hands, there is no doubt about that. We don’t want to make it an education epidemic,” said Riddick.

As cases spike across Midland, Mayor Patrick Payton hosted a virtual press conference today as well.

In the meeting, he asked Midland residents to go back to social distancing and wearing masks like the beginning of the pandemic.

Full briefing from Mayor Patrick Payton

When asked if the city would take any action to require masks he said that he believes that the community will step up and there is no need to issue mandates.

While the mayor talked about going back to the beginning, he did mention that he will not close down bars and gyms at this time. He is asking owners to be more vigilant in requiring masks in their stores.

The mayor was also asked about plans to host events like Movies in the Park. He said that he will not stop the events but hopes Midlanders take social distancing seriously when they go.

All of this comes after Midland has seen nearly 40 new confirmed COVID-19 cases each day this week.

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