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Following several tips about one member of the Emergency Management Group potentially exposing the entire operations center to the deadly Chinese coronavirus, Texas Scorecard reached out to Ector County Emergency Coordinator Ricky George for a statement regarding the rumors.

The group was recently formed to coordinate efforts to combat the virus crisis and is comprised of officials from both Ector County and the City of Odessa.

According to George, the emergency response center operations at the physical location will be suspended because “of a potential exposure” and other reasons related to combatting the virus.

The group’s operations center is located in a room at the University of Texas at the Permian Basin. In addition to suspending the physical operations, George said that members of the task force will “increase our own social distancing” for a period of time.

The emergency management members will, as George noted, continue to coordinate with local stakeholders and monitor the situation remotely. It is unclear whether or not any have contracted the virus, but all appear to be taking the necessary precautions anyway.

Texas Scorecard reached out to George after several rumors circulating online suggested the Mayor of Odessa was the source of the potential exposure. That claim has not been confirmed, as George declined to comment on which official was responsible.

Odessa Mayor David Turner denied being the source of any exposure issues when contacted for a statement. However, shortly after speaking to Texas Scorecard, Turner issued a press release stating that he wasn’t at a press conference for the Emergency Management Group the previous day because his mother had been hospitalized and was currently being tested for exposure to COVID-19.

Turner went on to say he has taken all necessary precautions and his doctor has not advised him of the need to quarantine.

Texas Scorecard will continue to monitor this story as it develops.