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Corpus Christi Public Health: 85 Infants Tested Positive For COVID-19 Since March

A medical worker administers a nasal swab to a baby at a drive-through testing site for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) near the hospital in Laval, in Mayenne department, France, July 15, 2020.
Stephane Mahe | Reuters
/
A medical worker administers a nasal swab to a baby at a drive-through testing site for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) near the hospital in Laval, in Mayenne department, France, July 15, 2020.

Nueces County confirmed 85 babies have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic hit the United States in March. The children are among the 8,400 confirmed cases in the Corpus Christi area.

An announcement was initially made on Friday. Health officials made note of the children’s age to “illustrate a point” that anyone can contract the virus regardless of age.

The Corpus Christi Nueces County Public Health District’s Director Annette Rodriguez urged residents to wear masks and stay home.

“These babies have not even had their first birthday yet; please help us to stop the spread of this disease,” Rodriguez said.

She did not provide the severity of the babies’ conditions or how the exposures happened.

The brief announcement caused speculation that the cases were sudden; however, Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales sent out a statement the following day to indicate there was not a surge in virus transmission among infants.

“For context, the spokesperson was using that statistic to illustrate that no one is naturally immune to this virus,” Canales said. “While the elderly and those with existing medical conditions are at greater risk of illness and death, anyone can get the virus, from the elderly to infants, and without regard to race, gender or economic status. The number was used to illustrate this point.”

The judge added that one child who tested positive for COVID-19 has died. The child was brought to the hospital for unrelated symptoms and then tested positive for the virus. The infant died at home. An autopsy is being conducted to determine the cause of death.

According to Canales, the county leads the nation in per capita virus cases. The county has about 362,000 residents and 8,407 cases.

“And we are number two in the state when it comes to deaths per capita,” she said.

The county reported 90 deaths as of Saturday evening.

 The CDC lists Nueces County as having 2,255 COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 residents which is the highest of Texas large metropolitan counties.

Corpus Christi and the surrounding beach communities have been highly sought-after tourists destinations as many Texans look for a weekend coastal getaway. However, local health officials have pleaded with tourists to stay away in order to curb the spread of the virus

“To all those who love Texas beaches … I would love to have you here from around the state coming to the beaches when the conditions are good for you to come and visit safely and for us to be able to host you safely,” Canales said on Friday. “We do have the best Gulf Coast hospitality, and I’m proud of that, but for now the coast isn’t clear.”

Canales set orders in place this weekend to keep people from congregating along the shores, including prohibiting vehicular traffic on the beaches. Those orders will remain in place until August 1.

 
Joey Palacios can be reached at Joey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules.

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