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Dismas Charities, STX Beef COVID-19 connection traced as more are diagnosed

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Posted at 1:42 PM, May 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 22:34:56-04

UPDATE (6:30 p.m.): The City of Corpus Christi is encouraging anyone, who is currently living with an STX Beef Employee or anyone who is living with someone who has had positive contact with an STX Beef Employee, to get tested even if symptoms are not showing. The number for free testing in Nueces County is (361) 414-6700.

Local health officials are investigating the reciprocal nature of a recent COVID-19 outbreak that added 15 new cases to Nueces County's total.

Thirteen patients at the Dismas Charities inc. halfway house made up the majority of the 15 new cases reported Monday, the county's highest single-day spike so far.

The Corpus Christi-Nueces Co. Public Health District Health Director Annette Rodriguez said Tuesday during a Corpus Christi City Council presentation that her department currently is investigating whether the outbreak transferred from the STX Beef meat processing plant to the halfway house on Mestina Street, or vice versa.

Tests were conducted on 32-35 residents of the halfway house Saturday, where 15 residents and three staffers have since been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. Testing is ongoing at STX Beef, with 340 being tested over the weekend, and 267 more tests being carried out on Monday. Nineteen employees are confirmed to have the virus.

Transitional home residents receiving positive diagnoses are being quarantined at the facility. She said she expects more positive diagnoses from the plant.

Rodriguez said testing in the area has ramped up recently, with 1,782 potential patients having been tested in fewer than seven weeks during the 19 drive-through events at the former CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Memorial testing site. A total of 4,754 people have been tested in Nueces county, with mostly adults in the 30-49 age range being affected.

This is a developing story. Check back with kristv.com for updates.