WACO, Texas – City officials met virtually on Tuesday to discuss the status of the city’s shelter-in-place order, highlighting the shortcoming of equipment and providing an optimistic outlook on the pandemic.
Due to a statewide shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), the city has made a hierarchy as to who gets them first.
“Because of this particular emergency being related to infectious disease, the primary need has been personal protective equipment centered around gowns, face masks, face shields, gloves and other masks,” says Assistant City Manager Ryan Holt.
In the three-tier PPE totem pole, medical professionals on the front lines of fighting the virus – from nurses and doctors down to ambulance drivers – get the first crack at all the equipment.
Beyond protective equipment, Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver says testing remains a huge factor in getting out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve talked about the flaws in the testing and the fact that there has been a lack of adequate testing, and there continues to be a lack of adequate testing, despite some things some politicians are saying,” Deaver said. “Having adequate testing is certainly an important part of coming out of this shelter-in-place.”
Even with the county seeing a rise in coronavirus recoveries and a decrease in active cases, city officials don’t think they’ve seen the end of the virus.
“The latest data is showing that there may be two or three waves of COVID-19,” Deaver said. “Singapore is starting to experience a second wave, and we’ll have the benefit of watching other countries and other states as we work on this and try to be as smart as we can as we come out of this.”
One thing that might help Waco is its proactiveness.
“We are a part of a city that does not wait for things to happen to us,” District IV Councilman Dillon Meek said. “[Waco] says, ‘What are we going to do to make sure that we are thinking ahead, planning for the future, and doing everything we can to make sure the lives of our citizens is the best?'”
It is still unclear how many COVID tests are available in McLennan County or when the shelter-in-place order will be lifted.