March 25, 2020 455 PM
The op-ed by Daniel Hernandez about “Marfa is Closed” was right on the mark. Big city people don’t understand how delicate the Big Bend area is. Even in good times, when they visit it can be an overwhelming amount of influence from the outside. They come to visit and have to have things like they are at home. It’s a shame they can’t realize that it’s the way it is because that is the way the locals want it. It was an excellent article and keep them coming.
As a public health reminder, let’s all of us as citizens of the Big Bend be mindful of our social distance. All of the corona news seems like a big city problem or something that happens in faraway places. We have the luxury and curse of living on this “island” surrounded by a sea of prairie. Our remote setting is a two-edged sword: it has the potential to shelter us from COVID-19 exposure, but our distance from intensive care unit facilities decreases our access to life saving care. The stakes are high for all of us. At this early stage of the outbreak, one need only note what is happening in other parts of the world to know what can happen to us and our loved ones.
Local businesses are shuttered, our town is closed to tourist traffic and revenue, and our delicate health care infrastructure is bracing to care for the needs of our communities. None of our local health care organizations are treatment facilities for COVID-19. There are no isolation centers or ventilators available locally. This makes prevention of outbreak and spread our greatest tool. No one is going to do this for us, each and every one of us is tasked with hand washing and cleaning and distancing.
The Marfa Clinic, formerly known as the Marfa Country Clinic, is open for business during our normal hours M-F from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Our front doors are locked, and we are admitting patients one at a time as normal waiting room flow does not comply with social distancing norms. Marfa Clinic is not examining sick people inside our clinic. We are screening people with symptoms of fever, headache, fatigue, sudden loss of smell sense and shortness of breath outside at this time in an effort to protect other patients and our medical staff. Call our clinic at 432-729-3000, or knock on the front door to either make an appointment or be seen by our clinic staff. The Marfa Clinic is conducting coronavirus tests on an as-needed basis depending on exposure history, risk and symptoms.
Please be aware, much like the rest of the country, Marfa Clinic will be conducting telemedicine appointments and evaluations to address your health care needs while keeping you safe in your home. Telemedicine can be as simple as a phone call; look out for and answer calls marked no caller ID, or calls from a phone number not in your contact list. In some cases, Zoom calls, or FaceTime calls can be arranged to provide a “face-to-face” interaction. Home visits or “porch” visits can be arranged on an as-needed basis. Again, contact our main switch board line at 432-729-3000 to make appointments.
A generous donation of masks has been made by one of our local construction companies. Masks are in short supply. For example, our clinic cannot obtain many basic items from our suppliers. Masks will be made available free of charge to at-risk people on an as-needed basis as supplies last. Anyone wanting to donate needed medical items can contact any of our medical facilities for distribution to the public.
Regarding Stephen Paulsen’s puff piece last week for Border Patrol. Why was the headline “Off-duty Border Patrol agent intervenes in stabbing incident”? It should clearly have been “Sam’s Club employee intervenes in stabbing ~ (Border Patrol jumps in).”
The hero of the day was clearly the Sam’s Club employee, yet there is not even mention of his name! He disarmed the attacker; he “clearly saved multiple lives.”
This is how Americans protect Americans. Border Patrol involvement was merely incidental.
Dear Judge Cano,
My sincerest thanks to you and the county commissioners for making the difficult decision to put the health and safety of your neighbors above economic concerns. In the face of intense pressure and scrutiny, you made the right choice, and I applaud you.
We can all band together and support each other through tough economic times, if we’re healthy. The reverse isn’t true. Thank you again for taking prudent action to protect all of us.
Brewster County resident and registered voter
Dear leaders of Brewster County, the City of Alpine and Dr. Escovar:
You are heroes. Thank you for closing overnight guest accommodations to protect our communities and ensure our limited local resources are kept for local residents during the coronavirus pandemic.
I applaud how our elected officials worked hard to understand this crisis, considered their constituents’ needs and perspectives, and followed Dr. Escovar’s recommendations. Everyone in our region should feel extraordinarily lucky we have a brilliant, caring and bold doctor like Dr. Escovar, who tirelessly works to keep our communities as healthy as possible.
I felt teary-eyed with gratitude and admiration as Dr. Escovar made her case for these closures, as well as when Commissioner Esparza described her sleepless night on Thursday, after realizing what a terrible threat this pandemic poses and wanting to quickly fix the mistake the commissioners court made at their previous emergency meeting.
I know it was an incredibly difficult decision to shut down a major economic engine of our city and county, especially in the face of a pandemic that seems unbelievable in its scale and devastation. This was an awful choice between hurting some of us and hurting all of us. But I am so grateful our local governments chose sacrificing money over sacrificing lives.
You showed brave, true leadership. I have more hope now we will get through this tragic chapter as a community. In the coming months, we should all remember with tremendous gratitude how many lives you saved this week.
Thank you for your devotion and service to our community.
First: “A hoax!” Lately: “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”
Trump and rightwing media accused Democrats of undermining his presidency. Please understand. We have an untrustworthy incompetent failing to act responsibly 3-4 months before our backs were against the wall.
Our social order facilitates corruption. Several senators had insider information. Unconscionably, they sold stocks before the market unraveled, all-the-while negating legitimate public concerns to all but connected friends. Big tobacco’s lie, “Cigarettes don’t cause lung cancer,” took lives. Legislation forced automakers to manufacture safer vehicles, not “market forces.”
Reaganism’s 40-year transfer of middle-class wealth upwards created today’s economic inequalities. “No regulations” helped Enron and McCain’s Keating 5 criminals.
Many delude themselves. If America’s truly “exceptional,” where’s testing, masks, ventilators, critical medical supplies and coordinated preparedness of other nations isolating the virus? It’s projected to overwhelm an inadequate, for-profit healthcare system from lessening a grim reaper’s bountiful human harvest.
This isn’t a matter of not pulling together or finger-pointing at those creating or compounding present difficulties. Rather it asks: “What of our moral compass mired in fear, greed, money, power and influence that we’re unable to protect ourselves?”
It’s a shame we didn’t embrace caring for the least of us during Christianity’s 2,000-year window of opportunity. Remembering how and why key institutions failed us, we’ll be a more compassionate, socially responsible nation than the one living a coronavirus nightmare. Honest introspection is also good for the soul.
Rev. Barry Abraham Zavah