SINTON – All over the country officials have been dealing with incorrect COVID-19 numbers, including Corpus Christi which had a massive surge of cases a couple of weeks ago that sent their cases from around 300 to more than 1,000 in just one day.
The number sent residents in panic mode until they realized that the state was simply catching up with old COVID-19 tests.
San Patricio County Judge David Krebs told commissioners last week that the county has been “catching a lot of flack” from the city of Mathis over the COVID-19 report the Public Health Preparedness Department releases during the week.
“They think we’re not telling them the truth, that we’re hiding information from them because they have so many cases over there that we know nothing about,” Krebs said.
He said he was told that Mathis had 13 cases that are in the intensive care in Corpus Christi, but the county has no way to confirm or deny the claim.
“They’re being tested at private testing facilities and those private testing facilities are not feeding us the information that we need to know,” Krebs continued.
He added that concerned Mathis residents were also urging the judge and SPC Department of Public Health Medical Director Dr. James Mobley to close their schools to keep students safe.
“We do not have the authority to close the schools down,” Krebs said. “The school district can consult with Dr. Mobley and I and we can make a recommendation, but we cannot close the school down. That’s the superintendent’s decision whether he wants to close that school down or not over there.
“We’re doing our best to let them know how many cases they have, but if we don’t know how many cases they have we can’t tell them what’s going on.”
Mobley added, “The issue isn’t information, it’s guidelines. It is following the guidelines wearing a mask and washing your hands and doing those things.”
He said it wasn’t about stopping the virus — because that is impossible — but slowing it down by following guidelines is something everyone can do.
Mobley and Krebs said they would be working together to come up with a resolution to Mathis’ problem and possibly release a statement to their residents.
The health department also began running numbers based on precincts in the county to show as much information as they are allowed to release.
Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the county cannot release information based on the amount of cases in each of the cities.
“We’re doing the best that we can with what we know,” Krebs said.
Mobley added, “This is going to burn through and I think that’s what we’re seeing. The real question at this point is will we spike in September?
“There’s no end in sight, but we’ve just got to hang in there for a little bit longer and I think we’ll be OK.”
Paul Gonzales is a reporter at The News of San Patricio and can be reached at 361-364-1270, or by email at email@example.com.