ODESSA, TX -- The Permian Basin continues to grapple with the surge of coronavirus that is hitting the area.
On Monday, during a virtual town hall with Medical Center Hospital’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rohith Saravanan and two city council members, the doctor addressed the spread of coronavirus in the area.
According to Dr. Saravanan herd immunity is not a plausible option at this time. In addition to inundating hospitals as cases continue to rise, the long-term effects of COVID-19 are still unknown.
“To those people that say, ‘well, let this virus just go through our community and let’s be done with it,’ what if some of this leads to heart disease in the future?”, Dr. Saravanan said. “You would want to know, so, no, let’s not let this go through our community.”
On Tuesday, the Odessa City Council voted unanimously to extend Mayor David Turner's mask mandate.
Back on November 24, Mayor Turner signed the declaration that required businesses to enforce mask-wearing for their customers.
Businesses are required to display signage informing customers masks are required and make a “good faith effort” to enforce mask-wearing,
Businesses who do not comply will receive a warning for the first offense and a $250 fine for the second.
Businesses that blatantly disregard the mandate will likely be the only ones fined, according to the mayor.
Additionally, off-duty officers will be paid over-time to conduct periodic inspections. They will be responding to complaints of businesses not complying with the order.
Fire inspectors have also begun inspecting businesses to ensure they are operating below 50 percent, as Governor Abbott's executive order requires.
The limited occupancy will remain in effect until Trauma Service Area J has seven consecutive days under the 15 percent threshold.
“I told council this morning, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. We have to do what we have to do to get the businesses open where they need to be,” said Turner on Tuesday.