It was sort of a holiday miracle yesterday when city officials teleconferenced with Ruben Villarreal of KGNS for another installment of MEDIA BRIEFING!!! This kind of Facebook face timing had not happened since October. The pressing matter up for discussion was the rise in Covid-19 cases and the urgent need for testing.
The first to present was code-switching extraordinaire Guillermo Heard, Chief of the Laredo Fire Department. He said we should be concerned with the Omicron strain of Covid-19, which is transmitted more easily. Chief Heard, however, stressed that now is not the time to panic. Local emergency rooms are seeing more people with flu-like/Covid-like symptoms but the majority of enfermos are not serious enough to be admitted to the hospital. We can thank the great number of Laredoans who are vaccinated against Coronavirus, apparently.
Chief Heard said that Laredo currently has 8 testing sites in operation. 3 will be added next week to meet the demand.
Director of the Laredo Health Department
who wore a chin strap to the online meeting Dr. Chamberlain (pictured above) reported there being 529 active cases of Covid-19 in Laredo. 85 of those were classified as breakthrough cases.
Taking on a more serious tone was Dr. Victor Trevino. (He's an actual medical doctor and better at speaking bilingually.) He started by reporting 3 new deaths in the community attributed to Covid-19. Resources to combat the current crisis are limited, he said, one being hospital personnel. Dr. Trevino recommended that we wear masks when indoors at public places. He also pushed for people to get vaccinated if they hadn't done so already.
I just got my booster shot (Moderna) last week, days before the Christmas holiday. On the 24th I visited my in-laws for a short while. I felt like a schmuck, being the only one at the gathering who was wearing a face mask. (My wife & son kept theirs on at times.) I felt so awkward, wondering if my extended family was silently dissing my PPE move. Well, wouldn't you know it, yesterday I learned that four people who visited my suegra over the Xmas weekend tested POSITIVE for Covid-19.
And suddenly I was vindicated. My anxiety towards a house full of family paid off. I was right to keep my mask on during my Christmas Eve drop-in.
Thankfully my in-laws are all vaccinated and those who came down with Covid have had mild symptoms. Needless to say, a New Year's Eve gathering has been canceled. I still want to see my suegra this weekend, but the visit will be brief and every necessary precaution will be taken. What I'm waiting to see are the photos that my cuniados will post on social media. I'm counting on them posting pics with a ton of unmasked people at their own houses.
There's a reason things ARE like they are right now. And there is blame to go all around. The CDC recently updated their guidelines for Covid-positive persons who are asymptomatic: quarantine for 5 days instead of ten. Local officials, however, want to keep the ten-day recommendation in place. Reason for that, according to Dr. Victor Trevino, is our lack of resources to fight Covid-19. I would add to that that we've let our guard down. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been a Godsend. But they can't be our sole source of protection, not yet.
I left out the mayor's rambling input during the media briefing. You're welcome.