FROM THE MAYOR’S DESK: Caring about others – as we find the cure for the pandemic

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By Mayor Stan Booker, The City of Lawton

  • Ledger photos by JJ Francais                             Shelves of an area Walmart remain empty despite new store hours to accommodate cleaning and stocking.
    Ledger photos by JJ Francais Shelves of an area Walmart remain empty despite new store hours to accommodate cleaning and stocking.
  • Shelves that normally display hot sandwiches are empty at The Gourmet Grill inside Uptown Grocery in Edmond.
    Shelves that normally display hot sandwiches are empty at The Gourmet Grill inside Uptown Grocery in Edmond.
  • A sign informs customers to limit themselves to two bread items inside the Uptown Grocery in Edmond.
    A sign informs customers to limit themselves to two bread items inside the Uptown Grocery in Edmond.
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As your mayor, I love to get out in the community and visit with you. My time with you is my favorite part of this job. However, for the next few weeks, I will have to keep my distance. Please know that I want to be with you. I want to be visiting with you and hearing your concerns. For a while though, we will have to communicate by other means – social media, email and the phone.

I still want to hear from you. I am determined to maintain contact; however, I do not want to put anyone at risk. Putting down the pandemic is about personal responsibility. It is knowing about whether I am sick but it is just as important that I strive with others to stop the spread of the disease. There are so many people who are vulnerable to this virus. We must think of their welfare at all times. We must act responsibly. The Director of the NIAID, Anthony Fauci, M.D. has said, “What [is important]... will be how you respond with containment and mitigation.” What is recommended? Stay informed, remain calm, heighten our awareness of personal hygiene and follow recommended movement and assembly restrictions, and social distancing.

I have been very impressed with our own local Comanche County Health Department’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Under the direction of Brandie Combs (MPH), appropriate steps have been taken to combat the spread of the disease.

1. Infectious disease nurses are always monitoring.

2. We have an Emergency Medical Response Plan in place.

3. We have a Medical Reserve Corps ready to act when called upon.

4. Our health leaders are keeping abreast of the most recent information and are leading proactively.

As well, the Chief Medical Officer at CCMH, Dr. Scott Michener’s planning has absolutely amazed me. Additionally, his opening of a drive-through testing facility has been out in front. Just visiting with him gives me confidence and his actions add to that. 

We have taken decisive actions to protect life in Lawton. Let’s remember that besides two in Lawton, SW Oklahoma has two hospitals, Duncan and Altus. We will likely have to work together in order to save the lives of the most critical cases. What we are doing now, is attempting to slow the spread so that the total of our healthcare system can handle the challenge. We do not want to wait to respond and end up like Italy.

It is imperative that the outlying communities and counties join us now in the prevention move. This is difficult as we all see the economic damage in front of us and how it will impact each of our friends' and neighbors' livelihoods. We must put their safety first and work with our elected delegation in Washington to bring aid that will help. This virus must not be political, and I want to see Washington working together to solve and address our financial concerns.

To those who belong to the community of faith, this is a time to find a way to meet the social needs in our community, safely. Leverage every available way to communicate. Don’t forget anyone. Let’s make sure that everyone is being taken care of. As people, we need each other. We need to hear from each other. We need to know that we are not alone and that others care.

Stay tuned for opportunities to help those in need. Certainly, food banks will be challenged by the pandemic. There will be needs across our community that we will rally together to address. However, we must take each step under the direction of our medical leaders to ensure that our good intentions always result in a good outcome.

The pandemic has huge potential to threaten lives. It also has huge potential to threaten our economy. We can mitigate the pandemic and see that it ends as soon as possible if we work together. Caring about others will lead to the end of the pandemic. 

It is important that I be able to communicate with you regularly during this time of civil emergency. I am so appreciative of the Southwest Ledger for allowing me to do so, and I appreciate the media that has allowed me time on the airways, including KSWO-TV and Radio Stations, KLAW, MAGIC 95, and The BREEZE. I will also use Facebook pages, Stan Booker, Mayor and Lawton, Oklahoma, City Government.

I look forward to hearing from you. Let me know how you are doing. Let me know what you think is needed and can be done across our community. I look forward to working with you to ensure the pandemic ends soon. Together, we can and will get through this. It is the only way. I remain confident in our future, together!