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Corpus Christi Needs More COVID-19 Test Supplies

Corpus Christi City Manager Peter Zanoni presents a graph showing COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks, which jumped from 71 the first day in that time period to over 200 the second day and then reached more than 300 toward the end. The presentation was made at the joint city/county daily briefing in City Hall on Monday, July 6. Screen capture image

Testing for COVID-19 has slowed because of a lack of supplies, while cases are surging and the waiting list for city-administered tests stands at 3,000. Of those, 200 are scheduled to be tested on Tuesday, July 7. All test samples are being sent elsewhere for results because of the lack of supplies, announced Nueces County Barbara Canales at the joint city/county news briefing July 6 in City Hall.

“Hospitals are taxed in terms of their ability to deal with patients,” Canales continued in her report. “Throughout all of Texas, they are burdened at capacity or over capacity and shipping patients to other cities. We are not doing that yet here.”

However, that day might come. As of Monday, 269 patients were in the hospital, 88 of those in ICU and 44 on ventilators, “which means they are in peril,” Canales said. The number of deaths from COVID-19 in Nueces County increased over the holiday weekend from nine on Friday to a total of 18 on Monday. Several of those were younger people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.

The county has requested more supplies and staff to handle the rising number of hospitalizations. Hospitals particularly need nurses. In meetings with hospital officials, Canales said she was told Christus Spohn could expand its ICU one more time, but that would be the limit.

“We must recognize that, once again, our destiny is our own to manage,” she said. “We have been dealt somewhat of a cruel hand.”

The answer is to strengthen the protocols that keep the coronavirus from spreading: wearing masks, washing hands, staying home, social distancing.

“If we do so, perhaps in 30 days, the charts will show that we have reversed this trend,” Canales said. “It will have to be with tremendous due diligence. Let’s lock in what we’ve learned. We want to be free of this virus.”

While the city will be using the last of its COVID-19 testing supplies this week, other entities will be able to continue testing, some for free and others for a fee.

The Texas National Guard will be testing this week in Robstown and the American Bank Center. Call 512-883-2400 for more information. Also testing are:

Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation at 361-356-9572

Amistad Community Health Center at 361-884-2242

• CVS Pharmacy at 361-814-8305

• Physicians Premier Emergency Rooms, call any site

• Christus Promptu Urgent Care, call any site

A bright spot in the Monday daily briefing was the report on July 4, when beaches were closed to vehicular traffic.

“I really want to thank of you who helped us here in Nueces to slow the spread of the virus this weekend,” Canales said. “We were asked to stay away for the betterment of others. We did it. Because we did it, we can keep doing it.”

The county reported an additional 288 cases on Monday, July 6. In the seven days leading up through Monday, 1,964 people tested positive for the virus.

More testing supplies are on their way, Canales said, thanks to coordinated efforts with local legislators and state officials. Testing is an important means of stopping the spread, both by isolating patients and contact tracing, which identifies those who have been exposed to the patient so they, too, can isolate.

Testing, contact tracing, and following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines over the next 30 days is essential to stop the current rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

“What we did this weekend will impact us in the next two to three weeks,” Canales said. “I want us to keep this up. The battle is far from over.”

To follow the latest news on COVID-19 in Corpus Christi, check the Corpus Christi Business News' COVID-19 Resource Page.

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