ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Hendrick Health announced Tuesday that the COVID-19 Community Safety Dial is now at Level 5: critical.
The level change comes with restrictions to the visitation policy in Hendrick Hospitals. No visitors under the age of 16 will be allowed, and COVID-19 positive patients will not be allowed visitors in most situations.
The last time the area was at level 5 was in February.
So Hendrick officials provided vaccinations and answers at a town hall Tuesday afternoon at the Paramount Theatre.
Medical professionals armed with facts and firsthand experience fielded questions from the public about rumors dealing with pregnancy and the vaccine, which OB/GYN Dr. Kristen Mitchell of Prestige Women’s Health says are not true.
“There are still ongoing studies of course, but there are no reasons to suspect that the vaccine itself can interfere with your fertility rates,” said Dr. Mitchell.
Despite there being no mask mandate in Abilene, Taylor County Director of Public Health Annette Lerma believes wearing a mask is effective.
“It’s the only thing that we are able to do as teachers and school staff and administration,” said Lerma.
This is especially a worry for those children 12 and under who cannot get vaccinated, as Taylor County remains significantly behind in the percentage of those being vaccinated in comparison to the rest of the state.
Health officials are hoping that the people of the community can do their part in getting vaccinated. Hendrick Medical Director Stephen Gleitz says another surge is not something the staff at Hendrick Health wants.
“It’s defnitely taking a toll on them, and I certainly think that they would like, or their message is that they want this to end just like everybody else does,” said Gleitz.