Arlington City Council prepares for COVID-19 vaccine arrival, runoff elections

The city council chambers sit in the shade of the sun April 13 in Arlington.

Arlington City Council finalized the 2020 general and special election results and received a COVID-19 update for the city during two sessions Tuesday.

The final canvass for the general and special elections results was approved by council members and signed by Mayor Jeff Williams in the special session meeting.

This resolution declares the results for council member districts one, two, six and seven. It also authorizes the sales and use tax increase that was approved by voters.

Arlington will hold a runoff election for the district seven seat Dec. 8. Incumbent Victoria Farrar-Myers, who received 47.66% of the vote in November, will face Antoine Lane, who received 20.27%. Neither received the majority vote in the general election as they faced two other candidates, Chris Dobson, who received 17.25%, and Hunter Crow, who received 14.81%.

Fire Chief Don Crowson gave the City Council a COVID-19 update for the city of Arlington during their afternoon session.

A limited number of COVID-19 vaccines are expected to arrive in Arlington in December, he said.

This month the companies Pfizer and Moderna announced they have each developed vaccine candidates with 90% and 94.5% effectiveness, respectively.

While these vaccine candidates have not yet received finalized approval, Crowson said they expect a capacity of them to arrive soon. The city does not yet know which version of the vaccine they will get.

Pfizer’s two-shot vaccine, given over 21 days, has a storage temperature of -94 degrees Fahrenheit. Moderna’s vaccine has a storage temperature of 36-46 degrees Fahrenheit and is administered via two shots over 28 days.

“Regardless of what we get, we’re prepared for the storage requirements of any vaccine,” Crowson said.

Once the vaccines are finalized and arrive in Arlington, the first shots will be distributed to health care and nursing home workers, followed by first responders and those in critical health classifications, he said.

Afterward, vaccinations will be offered throughout the Arlington community. The Arlington Fire Department will help in distribution for underserved communities, he said.

COVID-19 case numbers have risen across Texas, which recently became the first state to report over a million positive cases. Crowson said the numbers in Arlington are as high as they were in July.

With Thanksgiving a week away, it’s important to make sure everyone understands the severity of the virus and to avoid contact with the vulnerable, he said.

The spike in cases was predicted because behaviors haven’t changed, said council member Ignacio Nuñez, who serves on the board of Texas Health Resources.

College students visiting family and other Thanksgiving guests should wear masks at all times inside the house, he said.

Just as one can smell cigarette smoke from across a room, the virus particles can be spread the same way in an enclosed space, Nuñez said.

Williams said it’s an all-out effort for the community to use the weapons they have in battling the virus. While COVID-19 fatigue has set in, it’s important to continue wearing masks and practice social distancing and good hygiene.

“We’re just gonna have to pull up our bootstraps because it just is not over,” he said.

@megancardona_

news-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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