Kleberg County Commissioners Court gave an update on the COVID-19 vaccine and new "fixed" COVID-19 testing facility at the special session meeting on Monday afternoon.
Kleberg County Judge, Rudy Madrid, announced that the COVID-19 vaccine is in tier 1A of distribution and has only gone through Christus Spohn Hospital and HEB Pharmacy.
The Texas Department of State Health Services are in charge of all administration and distribution of the vaccine and distribution of the different tiers.
The current tier, 1A, is open for EMS workers, home health care workers, morticians and other related professions.
The next tier, 1B, will be open to the administration of those who are 65 or older or who are 16 years or older and have one or more chronic illness. This tier has not become available yet.
However, Madrid said that HEB and Christus Spohn Hospital have the authority to distribute to tier 1B if they have additional vaccines available and have distributed the vaccine to everyone in tier 1A category.
Kleberg County is set to receive 200 more vaccines within the next two weeks from the state.
Madrid said he is still pushing for administration to law enforcement and fire. Madrid and Sheriff Richard Kirkpatrick have requested a nurse from the state to distribute the vaccine to law enforcement and fire when it becomes available.
Kleberg County has 12 authorized providers, but they have not yet received vaccines.
Kleberg County has a "fixed" testing facility that is free and open to the public. The testing facility is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.
The COVID-19 test is a mouth swab and results are available as soon as 48 hours. Madrid said he was informed that citizens getting tested needed to have an email in order to get tested.
Madrid also said if you go out of state CDC recommends getting tested and staying home for minimum of seven days.
7 JULY 2020
Total positive cases of COVID-19 have eclipsed triple digits as of Tuesday, as more free testing has wrapped up in the county.
From June 30 to July 6, a total of 39 new cases have been added to the total count of Kleberg County positive COVID-19 cases, which is now 105.
A total number of 27 previous cases have now been removed from isolation over the past week, making the total number 45 in Kleberg County.
From July 4 to July 6, the Texas Military Department administered a total of 824 tests to residents and other individuals out-of-county at the J.K. Northway Exposition Center.
On Monday, offcials said some residents had already begun to receive test results from Saturday's testing samples.
Kleberg County Judge Rudy Madrid issued an order placing Kleberg County beaches under curfew effective at 11:59 p.m. tonight, due to concerns with COVID-19.
North Padre Island Beach will be under curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day until July 11 "unless extended, modified, amended, rescinded or superseded" by Madrid, according to the order.
Over the week, due to concerns with the novel coronavirus, Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott issued an Executive Order requiring all Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth while in public spaces, with a few exceptions, according to release last week.
In counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, all individuals must wear face coverings effective July 3 at 12:01 p.m.
The order affects both Nueces and Kleberg Counties because their numbers are over the 20 case mark.
"Wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19," Abbott said in the release. "We have the ability to keep businesses open and move our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a paycheck, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect one another—and that means wearing a face covering in public spaces."
According to the order, these are exceptions to the order:
-Any person younger than 10 years of age;
-Any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering;
-Any person who is eating or drinking, or is seated at a restaurant to eat or drink;
-Any person exercising outdoors or engaging in physical activity outdoors, and maintaining a safe distance from other people not in the same household;
-Any person driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver;
-Any person obtaining a service that requires temporary removal of the face covering for security surveillance, screening, or a need for specific access to the face, such as while visiting a bank or while obtaining a personal-care service involving the face, but only to the extent necessary for the temporary removal;
-Any person while the person is in a swimming pool, lake, or similar body of water;
-Any person who is voting, assisting a voter, serving as a poli watcher, or actively administering an election, but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged;
any person who is actively providing or obtaining access to religious worship, but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged; or
any person giving a
speech for a broadcast or to an audience.
A person not excepted from wearing a face covering, according to the order "is any person attending a protest or demonstration involving more than 10 people and who is not practicing safe social distancing of six feet from other people not in the same household."
Any violations of the order, following a verbal or written warning for the first offense, is subject to a fine not to exceed $250, according to the order. Each subsequent violation shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250 per violation.
The order does, however, prohibit jail time as a punishment for those who violate the order.
According to the release, the Gov. also issued a proclamation giving mayors and county judges the "ability to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of over 10 people, and making it mandatory that, with certain exceptions, people cannot be in groups larger than ten and must maintain six feet of social distancing from others."
Abbott said "large gatherings are a clear contributor" to the rise in COVID-19 cases.
"Restricting the size of groups gatherings will strengthen Texas' ability to corral this virus and keep Texans safe," Abbott said. "We all have a responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe. If Texans commit to wearing face coverings in public spaces and follow the best health and safety practices, we can both slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep Texas open for business. I urge all Texans to wear a face covering in public, not just for their own health, but for the health of their families, friends, and for all our fellow Texans."