As new coronavirus cases hit triple digits for the first time,, Nueces Co. Judge Barbara Canales issued an executive order Monday, forcing businesses to require masks for employees and customers, effective Friday.
Canales' mask order and a similar one requiring masks at county buildings are the subject of a special session of Commissioners Court at noon on Thursday.
The Texas A&M Corpus Christi research team mapping the virus in Texas says we are definitely in the midst of a second wave, probably even a third, and a mask order would definitely help.
Spike is not the correct term to describe this, it’s a wave,”said Dr. Chris Bird. “If it goes for a lot longer, it’s a tsunami.”
According to Bird, the simple combination of staying home, social distancing, washing your hands, and wearing a mask are still our best defense against COVID-19.
“It’s good that it’s simple, if we do these things, it’s proven to work,” said Bird.
“When this crisis began, I pledged to you all that I would make decisions informed by science and driven by data,” said Canales in a video message Friday.
As Nueces County’s chief executive, Canales has the authority to issue a mask order for businesses. Canales said that she wanted input from officials, to find answers to “what if” questions, allow businesses time to get their employees masks, and giving residents notice and explaining what the order means before issuing it.
Meanwhile, scientific evidence points to to masks being effective.
“Peer-reviewed scientific studies show that wearing masks either reduces your chance of transmitting or contracting COVID-19,” said Bird.
Bird believes that if people don’t go back to the same level of precaution from two months ago, new case numbers will keep climbing.
“If we don’t change our behavior, triple digits per day in new cases are in the future, but if we change our behavior, we might be able to avoid that,” said Bird.
Bird says that cases are up because more people are being tested, however he adds that Nueces County’s positive test percentage is way up as well.
As of May 22, 0.03% of tests in Nueces Co. came back positive, a month later, that number has jumped to 5.26%.