Corpus Christi COVID-19 cases spike
An outbreak of COVID-19 at the STX Beef plant in Corpus Christi has brought in the Texas National Guard to test all 600-plus employees. It's just one of several places the guard will conduct testing across the state over the next week or more. On Tuesday, May 12, the city reported 19 cases -- the largest one count until the next day, Wednesday, May 12, when 27 cases were reported. The numbers are expected to continue to increase as testing at STX Beef continues and as nursing home testing begins.
On Monday, May 11, Gov. Greg Abbott called for testing of all nursing home residents in the state to “ensure that any potential clusters of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes are quickly detected and contained.”
Nursing home testing will include the roughly 150,000 staff and 80,000 residents in the state. No timeline for administering the testing was announced.
“The state of Texas is working to rapidly expand our testing capacity — especially among vulnerable populations in Texas nursing homes,” Abbott said in a statement.
In Corpus Christi, 19 residents of a transitional home for men and women released from federal prison tested positive for COVID-19, the city announced at its May 12 daily briefing. Several of those are employees at STX Beef, a business that has been deemed essential by President Donald Trump, who ordered all meat processing plants to continue operations. Workers in contact with the COVID-19-positive cases are not being isolated because of the president’s order.
Currently, the transitional home, which normally houses 30-35 people, including staff, is being used as a quarantine site. Residents who tested negative for the virus are in isolation at another site.
The city/county health department further announced it would provide free testing for any person living with a STX Beef employee. The first round of testing for those family and friends will be Thursday, May 14. More testing will be set up as needed.
"This is voluntary -- it is not mandated," said Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales. "You do not have to be showing any symptoms at all. And ifyou miss Thursday, don't worry, that will not be the last time."
The city expects the number of positive cases to continue to rise in the next week or two because of the increased testing.
“Earlier, we were doing about 100 tests a day. Now, we are doing about 200,” City Manager Peter Zanoni said. “This week, we will see some significant numbers as we get results back from the beef processing plant.”
So far, Nueces County has administered just under 5,000 tests. Of those testing positive, 80 have recovered; 91 are still active. Many of those recovered are donating plasma to help other patients in their recovery. Currently, seven COVID-19 patients are in the hospital, four in intensive care. The county has recorded three deaths from the virus.
For information on testing sites, visit the state health department’s online map. You can type in your address to find the place nearest you. Different sites are run by different entities, including Quest Diagnostics, Coastal Bend Wellness, and Nueces County. All require pre-screening. A doctor’s recommendation is required for Quest Diagnostic sites. For Coastal Bend Wellness’s no-cost testing, call 361-814-2001 or visit the website. For Nueces County testing, call 361-826-7200 for pre-screening.
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