Nueces County addresses COVID-19 city concerns


Cleo Bretz

Annette Rodriguez speaking at the City Hall meeting.

Karina Garcia, Riptide Anchor

On Feb. 10, the Nueces County Public Health District held a briefing where they addressed questions regarding the vaccine drives and clinics, the active COVID-19 cases and trends in Corpus Christi as well as city hospitalizations and city questions. 

Vaccination Updates: 

“This week alone 14,000 people are expected to receive either a first or second dose of the vaccination,” said Mayor Paulette Guajardo. As of now 52,663 vaccines have been administered in Nueces County while 24,600 vaccinations have been administered by the Corpus Christi – Nueces County Public Health District. First and second dose clinics are being held at Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds and vaccinations will be held at the American Bank Center every other week, assuming the city receives the vaccines. Additionally, those who have received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine can receive their second dose up to 28 to 42 days after the initial first dose. “Although we anticipate receiving all of the second doses on schedule, your second dose does not have to be given exactly 28 days after you have had your first dose. In fact you can wait up to six weeks after your first dose,” said Guajardo. 

All second dose vaccines will be Moderna, although if you receive the Pfizer vaccine as your first dose you cannot receive the Moderna vaccine as your second dose. 

The Saving Our Seniors Homebound Program hotline is anticipated to open soon depending on the arrival of the vaccines. The program is designed to help senior citizens receive their vaccine, through appointment, from the comfort of their home. “If we get 500 vaccines we will announce that… the phone line will open up at a certain time until we fill those 500 slots,” said Guajardo, “We hope to do that weekly.” The hotline will immediately close after all the slots have been filled. 

Moreover, Health Director Annette Rodriguez also addressed that vaccinations are a necessary factor when it comes to slowing the spread of the virus. “If someone does get COVID-19 after they’ve been vaccinated, we want the disease to be less severe for them and thereby avoid hospitalization,” said Rodriguez, “Yes, there will be exceptions to the rule but we are already seeing promising results. Los Angeles was in a dire place very recently, but reports are showing that it has had some very promising results after getting vaccines in their community.”

General Vaccination information:

You cannot change your vaccination appointment time or vaccination appointment day. You cannot get your first dose at a second dose clinic. You cannot give your second dose to another family member if you do not need it anymore, this is because you are individually registered for the vaccination. According to Rodriguez, “If you get the first dose and second dose you will be 94% protected.” 

COVID-19 City-Wide statistics: 

“We are seeing a downward trend. It is also happening nationally. We are seeing a 20% decline so that’s good news for all of us,” said Rodriguez. In Nueces county 33,467 have recovered from COVID-19, whether those individuals recovered with permanent lung damage, prolonged fatigue or other physical issues is unknown. There are currently 2,400 plus citizens actively carrying COVID-19 and 673 deaths in Nueces county so far. 

Hospitalizations are also seeing a downward trend, however Rodriguez reminds citizens that the numbers are “still very high for our hospitals that are having to treat these COVID-19 patients.” The number of critical ICU patients appears to also be coming down, but this is not always a positive statistic seeing as this could indicate death.

COVID-19 Mutations: 

It has become evident that the three new COVID-19 variants from the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa are quickly spreading through the United States. “Right now we are in a race against the spread of the mutations. In hopes that we can get enough people vaccinated and thereby protecting others from getting the virus,” stated Rodriguez.

As of now, there is not enough data to tell us about these new variants. However, some reports mention that the U.K variant is highly contagious and could be more lethal.

Rodriguez emphasized that now more than ever it is important to follow CDC guidelines, continue social distancing, avoid large gatherings, wear face coverings and frequently wash your hands to avoid the spread of COVID-19. “You are either part of the solution, or you become part of the problem,” commented Rodriguez.