NUECES COUNTY, Texas — City-County leaders held a press briefing Wednesday saying that our area is at a new level of urgency as the more contagious delta variant is now the most dominant strain of coronavirus in Texas.
As we've reported, with cases on the rise, local hospitals are putting out a call for additional help amid nursing shortages to staff beds. Health officials continue to stress the importance of getting vaccinated.
"The delta variant is here in our community and it's spreading at super sonic speed," Health Director Annette Rodriguez said.
The statistics are staggering. There's been a 100% increase from last week to this week in the number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19.
Leaders gave an update on the impact the surge in cases is causing at home.
"Schools are being effected," Rodriguez added. "Nursing homes are seeing positive staff and residents again, that had not been, some restaurants are having to close their doors, a few daycares have closed recently."
As the school year begins, she's encouraging children who are eligible to get vaccinated, saying vaccines for kids ages 5-11 could be approved as soon as late September to October.
Then, there was this heartbreaking update from Mayor Paulette Guajardo.
"I want our residents to know that we had a mother who was not vaccinated, she delivered her baby weeks ago and just passed away last weekend from COVID-19 complications," Guajardo said.
Guajardo is asking expecting moms to also consider getting the vaccine.
Meantime, the County going on offense with emergency help from the state. The help we once used during the height of the pandemic last year is again being requested by County officials.
County Judge Barbara Canales said they hope to acquire a strike team to come down and help with vaccinations. Then, there's the need to help fill nursing positions.
"I know when our community is facing a challenge, our nurses have risen to the challenge," Canales said.
A mass vaccination clinic is planned for this Friday at the old CHRISTUS Spohn Memorial Hospital. The clinic will operate from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The County will also offer free COVID-19 testing Thursday at Tuloso-Midway's High School Football Stadium on the visitor's side.
Testing is for anyone who has been exposed to someone who is COVID positive or has symptoms.
There are two opportunities:
- 7 a.m. - 10 a.m.
- 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.