S Pg1 8-6 Dr. Mobley Contact Tracing_1.JPG

San Patricio County Department of Public Health Medical Director Dr. James Mobley here spoke at a Portland Chmaber of Commerce event at the begining of the COVID-19 pandemic. He recently asked county commissioners to allow him to add three interns to his staff to help with contact tracing. (Paul Gonzales file photo)

SINTON – Speaking to county commissioners last week, Health Authority of San Patricio County Dr. James Mobley said that while COVID-19 case numbers are slowly going down, “ ... it certainly can turn right around and head back up again. But at the present time it appears that COVID has peaked and is headed down.

“Texas daily hospitalization has leveled off and quite possibly is headed down. I usually expect this to lag behind cases by a few days. So I would expect over the next week, if this indeed a true trend, it should continue to head down.”

He added that the fatality rate continues to be very low at just 1.3 percent.

Mobley was also at court to discuss his request to create three temporary part-time intern positions to help in contract tracing for the Public Heath Emergency Preparedness Department.

He said that he currently only has two employees that can do this but Public Health Preparedness Manager Clara Rieder is out on maternity leave and the other employee is part-time but working more than 40 hours a week.

“We just need more people to do that,” Mobley continued. “I’ve identified three very bright young people, two are in school and one is pre-med, that I think we can bring in, get them trained and on board and then use them only as necessary.”

He added that the department is also taking several other steps to try to do data entry but if it becomes necessary, they can bring them on short notice. They would also be working from home and be provided with secure computers and would be funded through the CARES Act, the $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill passed in March.

The commissioners agreed to Mobley’s request for the three students as temporary interns and to be paid minimum wage, which in the county is $11 an hour. 

Paul Gonzales is a reporter at The News of San Patricio and can be reached at 361-364-1270, or by email at pgonzales@mysoutex.com.


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