Health workers will perform COVID-19 tests at the Corpus Christi drive-through testing center in the old car park of the Christ Spohn Memorial Hospital on Friday April 3, 2020.

Officials from Corpus Christi City and Nueces County say they want to keep reopening the Corpus Christi area, but the public must remain cautious and practice social distancing.

At the daily COVID-19 meeting on Thursday, officials explained how the collection point for drive-through tests collected the most samples on Thursday in the former Corpus Christi memorial of the Christ Spohn Hospital. City administrator Peter Zanoni said officials collected 83 copies.

“We should have these results by midnight (Friday),” he said.

The next drive-through pick-up on site will take place on Monday.

After four days of no positive cases, Nueces County reported a new COVID-19 case, bringing the county’s total to 91.

There has been one COVID-19 death in Nueces County. A Robstown woman in her 70s died on Sunday.

Of the 91 cases, 27 people have recovered from the virus. Five people remain in the hospital and one person is in the intensive care unit.

Zanoni said more than 1,800 tests were conducted in Nueces County.

Reopening of the Corpus Christi area

At the meeting, Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales reiterated the county order to begin reopening the area.

Hospitals can again perform elective surgeries as 25 percent of hospital capacity is reserved for coronavirus treatment and 25 percent of PPE. Retail stores in the county may reopen from Friday at 12:01 am as long as they are delivering goods to customers’ cars, homes, or other locations to minimize contact.

“We are not returning to normal yet, but we are preparing for this new normal,” she said.

More than a third of businesses in the Corpus Christi area are closed because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey by the South Texas Economic Development Center

Canales, along with other local officials, is preparing for Governor Greg Abbott’s upcoming announcement that he will continue to stage the Texan economy. He said he would make an announcement as early as Friday to reopen a variety of Texas businesses, including restaurants, hair salons and retail stores, according to the Texas Tribune.

As the reopening of the area continues, district officials are considering recommending or making masks mandatory in public.

“The community needs to be reminded that masks are a very powerful tool in reducing the spread of the virus, so masks are highly recommended,” said Health Director Annette Rodriguez.

“Make sure you wear these masks in places where social distancing is inevitable, such as a pharmacy, doctor’s office, grocery store, or similar location.”

On Wednesday, the District Commissioner’s Court began drafting guidelines for the reopening of churches this weekend. Officials hope to publish the recommendations on Friday.

District officials also work with the Texas Restaurant Association to develop guidelines for restaurants where they can receive dine-in services. The county is creating an advisory board that will continue to make recommendations as different parts of the area reopen, Canales said.

Mayor Joe McComb said at the meeting that he phoned the governor Thursday morning and discussed the reopening of the state.

“There’s a lot of interest in getting the state up and running again, but getting it up and running properly so that we can continue to create a healthy and safe environment for our people,” he said. “At the same time, our companies can get back to doing what they do, and this provides jobs, opportunities and income for the (citizens) in our community.”

McComb said the governor had put in place a system where each of Texas’ 254 counties had a single point of contact to reopen the economy. The mayor said it was the same structure that was used during the recovery of Hurricane Harvey. The contact person for each county is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension representative.

The mayor also said the federal government is working on more aid to the states.

A normally packed Hamlin Fountain & Gifts + Bakery will be empty on Friday, March 20, 2020.  Owner Karen Nicholson said it was important that people continue to support small businesses while they are reduced to take-away orders.  She said she needs to reduce the hours of some employees and possibly reduce the hours again starting next week.

Canales said she appreciated the community.

“How about a big thank you to everyone here today for listening to the spirit of our community and keeping the order for staying at home that I’m incredibly proud of,” she said. “And the sacrifice is real. And the sacrifice is different for all of us.”

Fan donations to the health district

The city asks the public to donate CPAP or BiPAP ventilators if possible.

You can donate masks, tubes, or other parts, as well as the entire machine.

Donations are available from 3pm to 6pm on April 28th, 30th and May 1st on the West Campus of Del Mar College at 4101 Old Brownsville Road. For more information, please call 361-826-7200.

Mayor’s Disaster Recovery Fund

The fund, which supports nonprofits, has generated more than $ 263,000. Last week the Mayor delivered $ 25,000 to the Coastal Bend Salvation Army and $ 25,000 to the Coastal Bend Food Bank.

Visit the Coastal Bend Community Foundation website to make a donation.

Kathryn Cargo follows store openings and developments and reports on the effects of the decisions made by the city government.For our subscription options and specials, please visit Caller.com/subscribe.

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