A small west Texas town’s Covid situation became so dire this week that it had to entirely shut down.
Iraan, a city of just over 1,000 people located only 100 miles from the Mexico border, has been hammered by a mid-August COVID-19 surge.
Fifty cases were recorded during a two week period, and the case positivity rate AS reached as high as 42 percent.
One resident even had to be airlifted to a hospital out of state as ICU beds remain limited in Texas.
Iraan, Texas, a city of around 1,000 people that is 100 miles north of the Mexican border, has been forced to shut down due to a COVID-19 outbreak
Iraan General Hospital (pictured) only has 14 ICU beds, meaning many patients have to travel elsewhere for treatment. One patient even had to be airlifted to New Mexico
‘We ask you God, that you heal our town, Father, from this disease,’ Vicky Zapata, a Iraan resident, pleaded on a livestream watched by CNN.
In the city, 119 people were tested for COVID-19 over s 14-day period, and 50 tests came back positive.
That makes the positive test rate, which is often in the single digits, 42 percent.
Around five percent of the city’s total population has contracted the virus in the past two weeks.
Last week, the school district was forced to suspend classes only five days into the new school year.
Around 25 percent of staff and 16 percent of students either tested positive for – or were exposed to – the virus.
‘In the last week, we’ve seen more Covid cases for staff and students than we did the entire year, last year, during school,’ Tracy Canter, the school district’s superintendent, told CNN.
The high school’s first football game of the new season had to be postponed due to the virus – a huge decision in a small Texas town that loves the sport.
Canter wrote a letter to parents asking them to do their part in preventing the spread of the virus.
COVID-19 cases in Texas have grown by 219 percent over the past month
‘Please ensure that students are truly taking this opportunity to quarantine,’ she wrote, according to CNN.
‘This means that students and staff will quarantine only with immediate family. They should not be out and about in the community or hanging out with friends.
‘The only way that this will work is if everyone does their part.’
The city council was forced to take drastic action to control the spread as well.
Late fees on utility bills have been waived and no one will have their water or gas disconnected for the next month.
The city building has also been closed to residents in an effort to prevent transmission.
Many local businesses in the area have also shut down in response to the current crisis.
Iraan is set to open once again on August 30.
The situation in the rest of the state has not provided them much help, either.
Iraan General Hospital only has 14 beds so, due to the limited capacity, many are forced to go elsewhere to receive medical care.
Since much of the state is undergoing an outbreak, it has been hard to get people the treatment they need.
One Iraan patient had to be airlifted into neighboring New Mexico to receive treatment.
Texas overall is experiencing a surge of COVID-19 cases.
Hospitals are beginning to fill, and Gov Greg Abbott – who banned mask mandates and vaccine passports in his state – has directed them to stop elective treatments to free up resources for Covid patients.
Over the past month, new daily cases in the state have grown by 219 percent, from 5,178 on July 24 to 16,521 on August 24.
The state has not recorded this many daily cases since late February.
Abbott has been under recent pressure to lift his ban on mask mandates in schools.
Some districts even chose to defy his orders by instituting classroom mask orders, and their decision was upheld by the Texas Supreme Court this week.