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'I toil in a preventable disaster zone': Read what 100+ Texas doctors wrote to lawmakers

The letter, signed by doctors from across the state, urged legislators to allow for COVID-19 protocols.

DALLAS — More than 100 Texas doctors sent a letter to the state House of Representatives, urging lawmakers to oppose action that does not allow local leaders to take COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

"I signed on to this letter because, every day, I toil in a preventable disaster zone," Dr. John Corker, an emergency physician from Dallas, said in a news release. "Children, young adults and vulnerable elderly, all struggling to breathe. No room or resources to help others suffering from otherwise routinely treatable ailments. This virus does not discriminate, and not all neighborhoods are suffering in the same ways."

The letter, signed by doctors from across the state, urged legislators to allow for COVID-19 protocols:

"Although the Delta variant is even more contagious than previous strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, there are fewer state public health protocols in place today than were in place one year ago to help slow down the spread of COVID-19. Instead, state lawmakers seek to prevent cities, counties, and school districts from imposing masking, social distancing, contact tracing, and occupancy requirements, even though these are proven public health interventions that, combined with vaccination, are essential to containing the COVID-19 pandemic and allowing businesses and schools to remain open safely."

Read the full letter here.

RELATED: Fort Worth ISD board votes to require face masks if court rules in district's favor

RELATED: Texas Supreme Court temporarily blocks San Antonio’s mask mandate

While cases and hospitalizations have surged in Texas -- approaching levels seen at the peak of the pandemic last winter -- legal disputes between local and state officials played out in the courts.

This week, a Dallas County district court judge on Wednesday sided with County Judge Clay Jenkins over Gov. Greg Abbott, allowing Jenkins' county mask mandate to stay in place. The next day, the Texas Supreme Court ruled against San Antonio's mask mandate, temporarily blocking the mandate.

Abbott earlier this year issued an executive order that bans mask mandates from public officials and government entities, including public school districts. But entering the school year, and amid the most recent COVID-19 surge, officials across Texas have pushed back on Abbott's order.

The Dallas Independent School District decided to require masks, and Jenkins ordered an indoors mask mandate for the county. School districts in Richardson, DeSoto, Garland, Plano and Denton have followed suit, temporarily requiring masks in class. 

The Fort Worth Independent School District board on Thursday night voted 8-0 to require masks, but the requirement won't be enforced until a court case the district is involved with will be resolved.

Tarrant County physicians have urged masks in class.

Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent Scribner told WFAA Thursday that he received another letter today from Cook Children's, saying their emergency room is overwhelmed. The letter was signed by 292 pediatricians asking for masks in schools.

“Our community and this board has directed me to implement a mandate as soon as it is legally feasible," Scribner said.

The district joined a lawsuit originally filed by La Joya ISD in Travis County.

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