Local Health Authority eases COVID-19 restrictions

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SAN ANGELO, Texas — This week, the Local Health Authority doctor issued an order lifting some COVID-19 restrictions.

This week the Local Health Authority, Dr. James Vretis, announced he would be lifting the restrictions on public areas of apartment complexes and hotels within the City of San Angelo, and those on recreational activities would be rescinded June 1st, 2020.

“When we put out the orders initially, we did that because we had the large Solar plant that had lots of employees in hotels around town. We did that to try and stop it from spreading and apparently its worked very well. It’s now past the 14 days and we’re able to discontinue the quarantine on those patients and open up those areas,” said Dr. Vretis.

With less than 100 positive cases of COVID-19 in the area, Dr. Vretis said that isolating those who have tested positive has been effective.

“The majority of the cases were household members of someone else who tested positive. If those people hadn’t been put in isolation and they went to work and were in close proximity with their coworkers, that’s when it spreads and spreads and you have the situation like in New York,” explained Dr. Vretis.

According to Dr. Vretis, there’s still not enough testing going on due to lack of supplies but he said he hopes that soon, large employers in the area test their staff.

“We do have grant money available to test large employers. We’ve contacted a few of the large employers in town to test everybody. There won’t be a cost to the employee, employer or health department. It sounds like a win, win if some of these guys would step up to do that,” added Dr. Vretis.

As more restrictions around the state are loosened this weekend, Dr. Vretis wanted to remind everyone to continue being cautious.

“We expect there to be a 2-4 week lag from when we cut back on restrictions to when we start to see an increase. Everyone who does modeling says we should have another large bump somewhere in September/October. That’s one of the worst case scenarios for us, the best case we see a few little bumps that we can handle here,” continued Dr. Vretis.

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Current status of COVID-19 testing in San Angelo