CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Concerns are growing with Nueces County officials over the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant across the Coastal Bend.
“The delta variant is here in our community and it’s spreading at supersonic speed," said Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health Director Annette Rodriguez said. "Texas has nearly 80 percent of all their cases are due to the delta variant. And our numbers here locally are very similar to the state and the national numbers."
Rodriguez said with how contagious the delta variant is, it's forced some restaurants to close because they're short-staffed. Also, some day cares have closed because of infections among children. Rodriguez said children are contracting it more than ever.
“The number of children getting COVID-19 in the last few weeks is extremely high," she said. "We had not seen numbers like this ever.”
She didn’t want to tell parents they need to get vaccinated, but she said to protect their children it’s what they should do.
Joe Zuniga was at La Palmera Mall on Thursday getting his first vaccine shot. He said he has a 7-year-old daughter.
“After a while of thinking about it I said well if this is getting worse I've got a daughter I got to worry about," said Zuniga. "So, I took a chance. And the only reason I didn’t get it before was because I only had one kidney due to cancer.”
Amanda Weaver was also at the mall receiving her second shot.
“Because we have a baby in our house and she can’t," Weaver said. "So we’re just doing our part to make sure that we protect her and don’t bring COVID-19 home.”
Weaver said she also wanted to get her older daughter vaccinated before school started again. Weaver is concerned about how quickly the delta variant is moving and sending her child back to school.
"I think it's a matter of time before they end up back virtual, so," she said. "Which I think is hard on the kids. I think for them to be able to be in school is important, but masks aren't mandatory. And so, I'm just afraid it's going to start running rampant."
Rodriguez said the health care system is overwhelmed with unvaccinated people making up 97 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations. Rodriguez showed the increase with July statistics at a public hearing.
“First 10 days, 309 hospitalizations," said Rodriguez. "Look at the last 10 days in July, 1,080 and that’s what happened that caused of these problems.”
Rodriguez added that she expects emergency use of vaccines for children 5 years old to 12 years old is coming this fall. She estimates one may be approved late September or early October.
A mass vaccination clinic will be up and running Friday at the old memorial hospital. All three vaccines will be available from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.