Officials: Local COVID-19 spike has a simple solution

Posted at 5:58 PM, Jun 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 21:19:54-04

In the face of climbing numbers of COVID-19 cases, our state and local leaders tell us to continue the health protocols we've been following staying at home when possible: social distancing, hand washing, and wearing a mask.

Public health officials are worried about what Nueces County’s recent spike in new cases means and say it’s time to go back to what worked three months ago.

The local public health district hoped summer heat would cool down the spread of COVID-19. They were wrong. Since June 8th, Nueces county has reported 131 new cases, including 31 Tuesday, a new one day high.

“To see these numbers creep up very quickly is a huge concern to public health,” said Public Health Director Annette Rodriguez.

As cases surge statewide, local, county, and state leaders have urged people to go back to social distancing and wearing masks.

“Maybe I’m complicating it when I say wear a mask in high-congregate settings, just wear a mask when you’re out,” said Rodriguez.

Wednesday, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff issued an order requiring business to require masks for employees and customers. Governor Greg Abbott applauded the move during an interview with a Waco TV station.

“Pursuant to my plan, local government can require stores and businesses to require masks,” said Abbott. “That’s what was authorized in my plan, that’s what Bexar County’s Judge has now realized, and what Bexar County is doing what every county is authorized to do, and that is to impose requirements on business operations.”

Abbott likened businesses requiring customers to wear masks to policies which force customers to wear shirts and shoes.

“The things we do make a difference, wearing a mask makes a difference,” said Dr. Chris Bird, head of the Texas A&M Corpus Christi research team mapping the virus in Texas. “You need to close loopholes in your social distancing policies or COVID-19 is going to exploit them.”

Rodriguez says that unless people take steps to prevent COVID-19 from spreading, it can be as long as a year from now before we can truly get back to normal.

KRIS Communications tried contacting Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales to see if she’d consider an action like Bexar County’s. As of this writing, there has been no response.