WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX / KJTL) – Every day this week, our local health department has reported more than 100 new cases of COVID-19 in Wichita County, and the number of hospitalizations is now over 70, a trend which worries many government officials, such as Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom and Wichita Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana.
“I just wish he stayed in his lane,” Gossom said.
These are the feelings of Gossom as he explained the inability of the local government to execute mask warrants as ordered by Governor Greg Abbott, as we see the number of COVID-19 rise exponentially in our region. .
“It doesn’t hurt anyone to wear a mask,” Gossom said.
Gossom said that while elected officials like him and Santellana are not allowed to issue emergency warrants, residents should feel the need to do their part to prevent the growing spread of the virus.
“I can take a horse to the watering hole but I can’t get it to drink, our job is to offer advice and things to do for people to hopefully get on the ship voluntarily and do these things to trying to protect themselves, their family and their friends, ”Gossom said.
Santellana said however, while he thinks every community is independent and special, we have to follow rules and regulations, like those set by Governor Abbott and he doesn’t think a mask mandate is what the city does. needs right now.
“The mandates sometimes widen that wedge between the citizens and the government representative and you won’t get anything more, what you do is create this controversy and you widen this wedge between the two, I think we should come back. at the educational part, get the facts and figures for people to see, ”Santellana said.
He admits, however, that these cases are troubling.
“We have people in their twenties and thirties dying, that’s a big concern for me and if it’s just about getting the shot, I urge those people to get the shot,” Santellana said. . “Are we going to have to force them?” I’ll never be someone who forces you, but common sense comes into play. ”
And to that end, Gossom said, while government officials can’t, he believes companies can ask not only their employees to mask themselves, but their customers as well.
Santellana and Gossom hope citizens will work together in this fight.
Gossom also calls on residents to be tolerant of one another and respect each other’s views as we wage this battle together.