Dumas priest shares concern for Moore County as COVID-19 takes toll

Moore County is still the most infectious county per capita across the State of Texas. Now, the priest at the Catholic church in Dumas is sharing his concerns with us.

Originally posted by Kaley Green on MyHighPlains.com.

Father Gabriel Garcia of Saints Peter and Paul Parish said of the nine COVID-19 related deaths in Moore County, 45% of those belong to the Catholic church.

Father Gabriel said the situation is in God’s hands, but the public needs to do their part to social distance, wear masks, and slow the spread.

Father Gabriel said he has one more COVID-19 funeral tomorrow and another scheduled for next week.

“It’s very painful,” said Father Gabriel, “It’s devastating for the families. I mean, even families that have had to postpone their own funerals of their loved ones for two, three weeks because they, somebody else, tested positive. So it’s been very, very difficult.”

With Moore County housing hot spot JBS Beef in Cactus, he said not enough is being done.

Furthermore, the need for food is growing daily—a need the non-profit Saints Peter and Paul Food Pantry is doing its best to meet.

“The number of people that are sick, the number of funerals we’ve had, the people that are being reached out … through the ministry pantry right now. That is in my appeal would only be to the federal government to look out for Moore County. Look after Moore County and help us in every possible way,” said Father Garcia.

Lisa Hatley, Saints Peter and Paul Food Pantry director, said the number of families they serve has quadrupled.

“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we would see between 21 and 30 families a week, usually averaged about 25. Since the pandemic, our numbers have steadily increased. Last week, we served 105 families…” said Hatley.

Hatley said they also got a translator to reach out to people who do not speak English or Spanish to help deliver the food they need.

Father Gabriel said what is being done in Moore County is not enough and they urgently need more action.

The state government is hearing Moore County’s concerns. Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen told us COVID-19 testing at JBS could begin as soon as this weekend.

Speaker Bonnen said the governor has been focused on helping Moore County for a long time—recalling a conversation they had weeks ago.

‘The governor looks at me and he says, “are you familiar with Moore County? It’s a small, little county in the panhandle. We’re really focused on that. They need help, they need our support.”‘

Speaker Bonnen

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