Corpus Christi COVID-19 cases peak

An interactive online map shows the closest test site to the entered addresses with times and requirements.

By Suzanne Freeman

An outbreak of COVID-19 at the STX beef plant in Corpus Christi caused the Texas National Guard to test all over 600 employees. This is just one of several places the security guard will be conducting tests across the state for the next week or more. On Tuesday May 12, the city reported 19 cases – the largest number until the next day, Wednesday May 12, when 27 cases were reported. The numbers are expected to continue to rise as testing continues at STX Beef and testing begins in nursing homes.

On Monday May 11, Governor Greg Abbott called for all nursing home residents in the state to be audited to ensure that potential clusters of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes are quickly identified and contained.

Nursing home tests include around 150,000 employees and 80,000 state residents. No schedule has been announced for the testing to take place.

“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 who were released from federal prison tested positive for COVID-19, the city announced at its daily meeting on May 12. Some of them are employees at STX Beef, a company that has been identified as essential by President Donald Trump. He ordered all meat processing plants to continue operations. Workers in contact with the COVID-19 positive cases will not be isolated due to the President’s order.

The temporary house, which normally houses 30 to 35 people including staff, is currently used as a quarantine point. Residents who tested negative for the virus are isolated in another location.

The city / county health department also announced that it would offer free testing to anyone living with an STX Beef employee. The first round of testing for these family and friends will take place on Thursday, May 14th. Additional tests will be set up as needed.

“This is voluntary – it is not required,” said Barbara Canales, a judge for Nueces County. “You don’t have to show any symptoms at all. And if you miss Thursday, don’t worry, it won’t be the last.”

The city expects the number of positive cases to continue to increase in the next week or two due to the increasing number of tests.

“We used to do around 100 tests a day. Now we’re doing about 200, ”said City Manager Peter Zanoni. “We’re going to see some significant numbers this week when we get results back from the beef processing plant.”

Nueces County has run close to 5,000 tests to date. Of those who tested positive, 80 recovered; 91 are still active. Many of those who have recovered donate plasma to help other patients recover. There are currently seven COVID-19 patients in the hospital and four in the intensive care unit. The county has recorded three deaths from the virus.

For information on test locations, see the state Department of Health’s online map. You can enter your address to find the closest location. Different locations are operated by different companies including Quest Diagnostics, Coastal Bend Wellness, and Nueces County. All require pre-screening. A doctor’s recommendation is required for Quest Diagnostic locations. Call 361-814-2001 or visit the website to get Coastal Bend Wellness free trials. For testing in Nueces County, call 361-826-7200 for a pre-exam.

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