Matt Pierce Briscoe
Story updated: July 18, 2020 20:35
To hear that 85 infants has tested positive for COVID-19 sounds almost bizarre in itself in a community the size of Corpus Christi and Nueces County. But then for it all to happen on the same day sounds even more bizarre. When area residents awoke on Saturday morning to the CNN news headline that Nueces County officials confirmed that there were 85 cases among infants in a single day—they were taken for a real loop. But that isn’t exactly what Public Health Director Annette Rodriguez said in the first place at Friday’s daily press briefing.
If something like that was actually the case, us an every other news outlet in town would have been all over it, but the reality is that it was a mistake and like they always do, the mainstream media took it out of context.
“I’ve been reviewing the statistics,” Rodriguez said at Friday’s presser. “We currently have 85 babies under the age of one here in Nueces County who have all tested positive for COVID-19.”
Nowhere in that statement did Rodriguez say that the cases were all confirmed on the same day. Likewise, she didn’t exactly clarify the statement either and because the local government in Nueces County suffers from a real communications and transparency issue, most of us who watch these pressers everyday just figured that out that it was probably cumulative and not all at once. If it had been all at once, the last thing that would have likely had happened is anybody admit to it.
But by Saturday afternoon the damage had already been done and Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales had to clear the matter up by way of a press release.
“On Friday, July 17, during a press conference, a spokesperson mentioned that 85 infants under the age of one had tested positive for coronavirus.,” the statement from Judge Canales read. “This number reflects the cumulative total of positive tests for infants under the age of 1 since the beginning of testing in mid-March.”
Judge Canales and the Public Relations folks also decided that they might want to take this opportunity to clean up another misunderstanding about a six-week old child who had been previously reported as having died from coronavirus. However, almost immediately family members of the child and members of the community began expressing their belief that the child did not die from coronavirus.
Family members say that they child has recently been hospitalized for another medical ailment and was sent home. According to family members, the baby returned to the hospital with a common respiratory infection and was again sent home where it later died.
City of Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb even indicated in the presser on the day of the announcement that it was likely that the child may have actually died of SIDS or another common childhood disorder or syndrome.
But on Saturday, that was cleared up in the statement, as well.
“One child under the age of one has died. That child was brought to the hospital with unrelated symptoms and tested for COVID-19 while at the hospital,” Judge Canales said. “The child later died at home. An autopsy is being conducted to determine the cause of death.”