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City of Laredo fights back against Texas governor

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 9:43 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - Over 60,000 students prepare to head back to public school classroom here in Laredo in just four days.

That means the clock was ticking for city leaders on Wednesday night as they looked for a way to get around GA38 and take back the ability to protect citizens from the coronavirus.

COVID-19 numbers and hospitalizations are soaring nationwide. Now hospitals across the US are running out of ICU beds, and some have set up tents to handle the influx in patients.

Local city officials have announced a lawsuit against the Texas governor to mandate masks in schools regardless of his orders and will file it in district court.

“In the past week, Florida has had more COVID cases than all 30 states with the lowest case rates combined,” said Jeff Zients. “And Florida and Texas alone have accounted for nearly 40% of new hospitalizations across the country.”

This week, multiple cities defied the governor’s executive order: San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Houston, and now Laredo.

Health officials say the move is needed and should be supported.

“Especially children that are not vaccinated, that are not vaccinated that are 12 and below pose a risk, especially if there’s a no mask mandate and no way to mitigate the spread of this virus, so I agree this is a needed measure,” said Doctor Victor Trevino.

Governor Abbott is threatening to take any school district who breaks his no-mask-mandate to court, as COVID infections and hospitalizations continue to rise across the south, where vaccination rates are lower.

“He’s using his authority to threaten communities that are trying to do what’s right in saving lives during this pandemic,” said Alberto Torres, Jr. “I really think his motivation is politics. His motivation is to safeguard his republican voters that don’t believe in the use of face masks. Unfortunately, right now is not the time to play politics. Right now is the time to save lives and come together.”

California is already requiring all school staff to be vaccinated or get weekly tests, becoming the first state to do so.

Cities and states are also re-issuing indoor mask mandates, including Philadelphia and Oregon.

However in Texas, districts are still fighting a battle, facing threats of major fines from the state.

With almost an equal number of cases, not only deaths but also the current cases taking place of COVID-19, city council just wants understands we need to take a new approach to how we deal with the COVID, and overall it looks like things need to be done.

“The motive it to give the mayor, the council, the health authority, the authority to issue to give out an order to mandate the use of masks at schools,” said Torres. “What we’re seeing is that at the private schools that started recently and we’re talking about a smaller school setting-a smaller classroom setting and they’re already testing positive.”

Meantime, more than 75,000 people nationwide are now in the hospital fighting the virus as the City of Laredo awaits a response.

“We’re hoping to hear back from a judge no later than tomorrow. If we don’t then our health authorities are ready to take bold action and issue out an order requesting every single student at a school wears a face mask. Then, we’ll wait and see what the governor will say along with attorney general.”

Council voted unanimously to file the temporary restraining order during Wednesday’s emergency meeting.

If they don’t hear back from the state by Friday, another emergency meeting will be called where they will move forward with mandating face coverings in local public schools and city buildings.

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