I feel it is important to remind our Denton County residents of our ongoing efforts in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
From the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020, Denton County has been at the forefront of providing assistance to our residents. We initially took steps to mitigate the spread of this virus, following constitutionally allowed measures. I firmly believe these measures were appropriate at the time with the limited knowledge we had of COVID-19 and its effects on our population.
We quickly rolled out programs designed to address the needs of those facing eviction and homelessness, needing food assistance and owning businesses that faced significant economic challenges. We assisted nonprofit organizations with personal protection equipment (PPE) and funding to ensure services could still be provided to residents in need. We also supplied PPE to our long-term care facilities, first responders and health care providers to ensure their safety. We expanded the capabilities of our Denton County Public Health (DCPH) team to investigate and report with transparency on the growing number of cases and rolled out extensive COVID-19 testing locations across the county.
When the COVID-19 vaccine became available in January, we immediately launched a major vaccination hub at Texas Motor Speedway, efficiently providing COVID-19 vaccines to hundreds of thousands of residents. The White House followed our model in rolling out federal vaccination hubs nationwide. In fact, people from 45 states came to Denton County to receive their shots.
We continue to provide COVID-19 vaccines to any and all who want them. And, soon, we will ramp up our vaccination clinics when booster shots become more widely available to the public.
Once vaccines became available, we asked everyone to thoughtfully and prayerfully consider getting a vaccine. We also encouraged people to do their own research about the vaccine as they made their personal decisions on whether or not to become vaccinated.
We also worked with and continue to work with all of our Denton County schools districts in dealing with the challenges they faced last year with virtual learning and this year as they reopened campuses.
We meet frequently with state, local and school officials to keep them informed of the latest information available about COVID-19 and to address any concerns.
And at each Commissioners Court meeting on Tuesdays, Matt Richardson with DCPH provides the latest information about the pandemic to the public — information that is available on our Facebook page and on our dentoncounty.gov website.
With the availability of vaccines, testing and PPE currently available in the market, I believe we continue to find ourselves today in a place of personal responsibility.
While being considerate of others, each of us has the responsibility to take whatever individual steps we deem necessary to ensure our own safety and the safety of our loved ones.
We ask that everyone show compassion with each other as individuals make their own decisions about their health and safety. Love and understanding for others, their viewpoints and their individual health choices is an important part of coming together as a broader Denton County community.
We do not need government oversight to supersede our individual rights. But what we do need is to be educated and informed. I truly believe individual choice is what makes America the land of the free.
We owe it to ourselves to maintain our individual rights while, at the same time, being respectful of others’ rights and the choices they make for themselves.
I believe that it is important to provide grace and understanding with one another whether that be the medical researchers, scientists or your own local doctor. This is a new disease, and we are all learning more about it each and every day. What we knew early on in the spring of 2020 is limited in comparison to what we know today.
If you want to be vaccinated, you can visit www.dentoncounty.gov/covid19vaccine to register for a vaccine with DCPH or to find a location near you (scroll to the bottom of the webpage).
Whether you choose to get a vaccination or not, I encourage you to have a plan of action in the event you get COVID. This plan of action is much like one you would have in case of a tornado, flood or ice storm. Know a doctor with whom you can contact, do your homework about what symptoms to look for, purchase an oximeter to monitor your blood oxygen at home, and know what to do in case of an emergency, i.e. where the nearest hospital with available space is located. And, lastly, know what treatments you plan to take and have them available.
I say all of this because I have had so very many people contact me after they get sick and do not have a plan of action and, oftentimes, do not even have a relationship with a doctor to treat them. So, please, think ahead and have a medical plan of action.
Together, we can continue to keep #DentonCountyStrong.