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City leaders & local emergency managers: Have a plan, don't panic

Posted at 5:41 PM, Mar 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-11 23:56:30-04

The number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in Texas has risen to 22. Fortunately, Corpus Christi city leaders informed the community today, that there are zero confirmed cases in Nueces County. Meanwhile, five people, who may have come in contact with someone who has the virus, are currently being monitored.

During a press conference held Wednesday afternoon, city leaders says there is no reason for concern, but they stressed the importance to stay informed and prepared.

"We need to keep doing what we're doing but we have to change a little bit and be mindful that this is a serious condition, the Coronavirus," said Peter Zanoni, the city manager.

To ensure the citizens of Nueces County are prepared for what's ahead, the County Health Department is educating residents, hospitals, and businesses, and communicating closely with local school districts and colleges.

"Every school has to take the initiative to do it their way. A good example would be Del Mar College," said Annette Rodriguez, the Health Department Director. "We already developed a text blast so if a student tests positive for Coronavirus, a mass text will be shared."

Health officials also said the Coronavirus testing lab in the county, should be up and running by March 23rd.

Zanoni also said there's been some staffing changes at the health department.

"We've directed about 20 additional staff from other departments to the health department to include positions like call takers," said Zanoni.

Wednesday's news conference was one step in educating the community, and keeping the community's safety and health in mind.

"You might see in the coming days or weeks or months that Nueces County feels that it's in the best interests to declare a local disaster declaration. This could happen," said Barbara Canales, Nueces County Judge.

Meanwhile, if you've been shopping lately, you may have seen store shelves emptied of disinfectants, hand sanitizer, water and even toilet paper.

KRIS 6 News spoke to Melissa Munguia, the Nueces County Emergency Management Coordinator, about how the public should be responding to coronavirus.

Her advice is do not panic, but be sure to have a plan in place, and be prepared in the event of a countywide health emergency.

Just like any emergency, for example a hurricane, it's important to have an emergency kit ready. Make sure to have one week's worth of food supply, like canned goods and other non-perishable items.

It's also a good idea to have necessary medications, batteries and toilet paper available.

However, next time you're out buying some of those items, there's no need to clear the shelves.

"We just want to make sure that everybody that needs hand sanitizer or supplies has it," said Munguia. "So when we run out and buy in bulk, it limits a larger population from having the materials they need to be prepared."

Munguia also said if a county-wide health emergency is declared, city leaders, the county health department and the emergency management district do have a plan in place to keep essential departments running.