CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Blanca McColley of Corpus Christi got some bad news Wednesday.
“I just found out my daughter-in-law tested positive (for COVID-19) this morning," she said. "And I was with her all weekend.”
That's why McColley was among the more than six hundred people driving though the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District's testing site at the old Christus Spohn Memorial Hospital.
In a day or two she'll have her results, and she plans to lay low until then.
"Go home, stay home," McColley said. "There’s not much I can do. I have to stay away from everyone."
Local leaders hope everyone will follow her lead instead of gathering in large numbers to ring in the new year.
At the final COVID-19 briefing of 2021 Wednesday, they urged novel coronavirus precautions in hopes of preventing more deaths.
“I’m reflecting on the lives that have been lost," Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales said. "And I think of the 1,312 people (who died) that were our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers. They were people we loved, admired, and cared about. And I really want to see that number stop.”
Also at Wednesday's briefing, a leader at Driscoll Children's Hospital reported that they're seeing an increase in COVID-19 patients.
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mary Dale Peterson urged parents to vaccinate all of their kids who are five-years-old and older. And for younger kids — she said everyone around them should get the vaccine.
But even with the hospital's emergency room and quick clinic "filling up" as Peterson put it, she struck an optimistic tone.
“I am so much more hopeful than I was last year," she said. "Because I think we understand better how to prevent and fight this illness.”
Peterson, Canales, and others encouraged anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to get tested. But they also admitted that seasonal allergies, the flu, and the common cold can present themselves similarly.
To help you figure out if you need to be tested or not, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new, online tool.
If it recommends getting tested, the operators of the test clinic at the old Spohn Memorial site hope you'll come by between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Thursday.
“We want to make sure — especially going into a holiday — that people are aware of any illnesses they may have, so we don’t have super-spreaders at a New Year’s Eve party," Nueces County Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator Kathy Ard-Blattner said.
McColley is one of those people, and she's hopeful her test will turn out negative.
“I’ve been vaccinated," she said. "I’m thinking it’s just allergies, but I’d better be safe than sorry.”
Testing could be available on New Year's Eve, but Judge Canales says she's still working on the details.
Check back here for updates.