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Gov. Abbott Views Corpus Christi Storm Damage

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott at a news conference in Corpus Christi on Tuesday, July 28. The governor addressed both damages from Hurricane Hanna, which made landfall Saturday, July 25, and the ongoing fight against COVID-19. Nueces County is a hot spot for the disease, with the highest number of new cases per capita than any other area in the state. Photo courtesy of the governor’s office

The battle against COVID-19 became part of a Hurricane Hanna media conference in Corpus Christi after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s tour of damages in Nueces County on Tuesday, July 28. The governor, Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd, and Region 6 FEMA Administrator Tony Robinson met with Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales and other local elected officials after the tour and before the conference to discuss state and federal support of the region.

The governor also announced Tuesday the deployment of a U.S. Army Reserve Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force to Corpus Christi and Victoria to help combat COVID-19. The 85-member team, which is part of the U.S. Department of Defense, includes medical and support professionals who will work with COVID-19 patients at Christus Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi Shoreline and DeTar Hospital Navarro in Victoria.

Still the state’s biggest hot spot for COVID-19, the Coastal Bend has seen numbers of new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths begin to decline over the past week. Wearing masks and adhering to other executive orders issued to slow the spread of the coronavirus are working, Abbott said at the news briefing held in the Anchor Ballroom at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

“The people in this region are acting in safer ways to decrease these numbers,” he said. “To see these declines continue, we have to continue these safe practices. If you let down your guard now, it will lead to another increase in COVID-19 cases.”

Speaking about the Category 1 hurricane that landed 60 miles south of Corpus Christi at about 5 p.m. Saturday, July 25, the governor noted that no one in either Kleburg or Nueces counties were in shelters, another plus in the defeat COVID column.

“During a time of having a hurricane while also in the midst of a disease pandemic, people in shelters are in a compromised situation,” he said. “Having no one in a shelter is good because that’s one place less where COVID-19 contamination can take place.”

Both counties have already reopened testing sites for COVID-19, and the state is continuing to provide necessary supplies and personnel, Abbott continued.

On Saturday, Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 32 counties, including Nueces County. He also requested a disaster declaration from the federal government, which was approved by FEMA on Monday, July 27.

"The state of Texas is committed to providing our communities with the resources they need to recover from Hurricane Hanna," Abbott said. "The ongoing collaboration between state, local, and federal government is crucial, especially given the additional challenges of COVID-19, and I thank all of our partners for their assistance as we navigate the recovery efforts following this storm. Together, we will rebuild and ensure a more resilient future for communities throughout the Coastal Bend."

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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