Corpus Christi to World: Keep Your Coastal Distance
The coast is not clear for visiting the coast, said Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales at the daily news briefing in Corpus Christi City Hall on Monday, July 13. At the joint city/county report on the status of COVID-19 cases in the area, Canales begged people to understand how dire the situation is in Nueces County, which was featured in the July 11 edition of The New York Times as No. 1 in the country for COVID-19 cases per capita.
“We are in the greatest challenge of our lives,” Canales said. “As we enter the fifth month of this pandemic, things have taken a turn for the worse in Nueces County.”
Canales is also meeting with the General Land Office this week to explore ways to limit coastal access until the crisis has passed.
One in 13 people in the Coastal Bend have contracted COVID-19, according to health department figures. The 12-county region's population is about 550,000. Nueces County has formally requested a morgue truck, more body bags, and use of the Navy hospital ship the USS Comfort. As a federal Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force team arrived at Christus Spohn Shoreline hospital on Monday.
“We are in a terrible crisis,” Canales continued. “This is your red flag. This is happening in your state, in your home town, in your backyard. Not New York. Not Louisiana. Here. This is our wakeup call.”
Other requests for supplies and personnel from the state are being answered on an ongoing basis. The county is also working to turn Christus Spohn Memorial into a 40-bed COVID-19 clinic, all to help treat the hundreds of new cases being reported each day.
The explosion of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths is a direct result of a community that has become the focus of stir-crazy Texans since Memorial Day weekend when 25,000 cars a day drove across the causeway onto Padre Island.
The county responded by closing beaches to traffic for the long Fourth of July weekend, dropping the number of vehicles to 4,000 on Saturday, July 4, and 3,000 on Sunday, July 5.
Some have complained to the city that the tourism surge came from Visit Corpus Christi’s statewide billboard advertising campaign touting “Coastal Distancing.” Canales changed that message, which is being taken down from billboards all over the state, to “keep your distance from the coast.”
“I am going to do something I never thought I'd do,” she said. “I am going to ask Texans to give us some coastal distance. I am reaching out to Harris County, Bexar County, Dallas County, all those areas that love to come visit our coast and tell them that, any other time, we will welcome them with open arms. When the coast is clear, we will let you know.”
For those at home, she repeated the mantra of how to easily slow the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19:
1. Wear a mask.
2. Social distance from people by at least 6 feet.
3. Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer often.
4. Stay home as much as possible.
5. If you don’t feel well, stay home.
“Please join me in renewing everything we have been doing: our faith, our ability to do what’s right, and to get really serious about this,” she said. “It’s absolutely in our power to flatten the curve (lower the cases of COVID-19), but not without everybody’s commitment to do this right.”
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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