COVID-19 LIVE BLOG: April 27 to May 1, 2020

LIVE BLOG: Refugio has its first confirmed COVID-19 case
Posted at 3:07 PM, Apr 27, 2020

Here's the place to come for the latest coronavirus-related news from the Coastal Bend. Check here often throughout the day for updates about our area and its response to this extraordinary, life-changing event.

You will find the latest information at the top of the story and all previous reported information below. We hope that including all these reports in one place will paint a more complete picture of the local response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Friday 5/1 update:

4:50 p.m. - JIm Wells Co. has reported a fourth confirmed case of COVID-19. The three previous patients have recovered.

4:40 p.m. - Nueces Co. is reporting four new confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of those cases, 60 have recovered.

4:30 p.m. - Kleberg Co. reports that it hit double digits in its confirmed case count. It now has had 10 reported cases of COVID-19. Four cases are still active and one died.

4:25 p.m. - After having reported a total of 11 cases, San Patricio Co. cases announced Friday that all of its cases have recovered. It currently has no active cases.

3:45 p.m. - Refugio Co. has reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19.

Thursday 4/30 update:

4:25 p.m. - Nueces Co. has had 102 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Twenty-one caseshave been severe enough to require hospitalization, while 54 have recovered.

Wednesday 4/29 update:

6 p.m. - Bee County confirms 6th COVID-19 case. The patient, a man in his 40's, is isolated and the mode of transition is under investigation.

4:46 p.m. - Nueces County is reporting the same number of novel coronavirus cases as Tuesday; which is 99. 43 people have recovered. 1 person remains in the ICU.

4:20 p.m. - Four CCFD firefighters have been placed in quarantine after treating and transporting a infant to the hospital who was later determined to show symptoms of COVID-19.

4:00 pm. - San Patricio County reports no new cases for Wednesday. Count is at 11 with 1 being active.

Tuesday 4/28 update:

6:20 p.m. - County Judge Barbara Canales' stay-at-home will be expiring on April 30, but she remains determined that the spirit of her original order must remain in place.

"We are going to have a new mantra - We need to stay strong to stay safe," Canales said. "And I need you to stay strong.

"We can almost taste that freedom. We want to do things that we haven't been able to do for 30 days. But I want you to remember the spirit of the stay at home order."

Despite recent reductions in the number of local cases, Canales said the pandemic isn't over.

"Nothing has changed," she said. "We haven’t eradicated the virus. It's caused people to be in hospital. Some people have recovered, but others haven’t.

"When possible we should stay at home. I highly encourage you to wear a mask. Practice social distancing and wash your hands. The temptation not to do those things is probably pretty great. This reopening of Texas, it’s got a good feel or ring to it. It makes us feel liberated. But I’m very concerned that if I don’t tell you to stay strong, we’ll go backwards rather than forward."

Canales vowed not to retreat from the frequent warnings which have marked her public statements throughout the pandemic.

"You don’t need me or my pen to tell you what you need," she said. "But by God, I’m going to remind you about it every Tuesday or Thursday until this is over."

6:05 pm - County Judge Barbara Canales wants "big signs" at local beaches that will clearly spell out social distancing rules and keep crowded conditions from occurring like over the past weekend when numerous persons jammed beaches.

"We don't have adequate information on signs," Canales said, adding that pictures she saw of the crowded conditions over the weekend were "just awful."

"I want to stress what we want with social distancing and hygiene in the bathrooms and how difficult is it to patrol ATV vehicles out there," she said. "I care less about the cars and more about the people. I want people when they get out there cars to practice social distancing."

Canales also commented about reports about people who are already flocking to the area from outside the city as a respite after the recent stay-at-home orders.

"We need to encourage our out-of-town visitors to be as good as the local people have been through this."

4:35 p.m. - Zero new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nueces County. Totals also remained the same in Bee and San Patricio counties.

12:45 p.m. - Gov. Greg Abbott answered his critics who claim he is moving too fast in reopening the state in our rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.

Abbott told KRIS 6 News during an appearance at noon that he consulted several leading doctors before making his announcement to reopen restaurants, retail stores, malls, movie theaters and museums to 25 percent capacity on Friday.

"Decisions like this are based on the data we have, as well as input from doctor," Abbott said. "We have (some) of the best doctors who are advising us about this including a former head of the FDA, a former head of the Medicaid and Medicare for the U.S., an infectious disease specialist in charge of tracking and tracing COVID-19, so we have great advice from these doctors about whether or not we can open up and if so, what types of strategies can be used in terms of opening up."

The complete interview with Abbott can be seen here .

Monday 4/27 update:

5:55 p.m. - Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales was well aware of how widespread attendance at beaches was over the weekend.

Canales said she visited the beach on both Saturday and Sunday to witness what she had earlier learned about via social media.

"Our beaches were jam-packed," Canales said. "It's not a secret because it's been on everybody's social media.

"It's very important for you to hear me say this. It's a great gift to have our beaches open. We want to continue to have that crown jewel of the Coast open. It's our right to have that. But we have to do our part ... The beach is there for enjoyment, but we have to spread out."

Canales said she has asked for a beach task force comprised of federal, state, city and county officials to mainain social distancing, adding that more access points are critical to allow better social distancing patterns in the future.

5:30 p.m. - Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb said the city's prohibition of short-term rental properties has expired and is no longer in effect.

McComb praised how most in the city have responded to the stay-at-home orders.

"The public has been ore than overwhelmingly supportive," McComb said. "Our number one goal is safety and the health of the community."

But he added if the local coronavirus numbers spike upwards after the reopening order goes into effect, there could be a quick change.'

"If the numbers take a wrong turn because of the latitude (of the return), there will be no hesitation to go back in," McComb said. "I’ve got a lot of faith in the people of Corpus Christi. I think you’ll be responsive to that ... Get your social distancing and behave yourself and we’ll all get through this together."

4:25 p.m. - Nueces Co. is reporting five new confirmed cases of COVID-19. These cases bring the county's total up to 99.

Abbott said to minimize the spread of COVID-19, he will limit occupancy in those business to no more than 25 percent occupancy.

"It's a proven business strategy that has been successfully used by H-E-B and Home Depot."

Abbott said his announcment supercedes all local orders.

"And if Phase I works, phase II will expand occupancy to 50 percent," Abbott said. "This order allows these business to reopen, but it doesn't require them to."

"And if Phase I works, phase II will expand occupancy to 50 percent," Abbott said. "This order allows these business to reopen, but it doesn't require them to."

2:55 p.m. - Gov. Abbott has allowed outdoor sports to continue so long as four participants are less are participating. He specifically mentioned golf and tennis as sports that were allowable.

Abbott added that if COVID-19 can be contained, opportunities for more sports involving more participants potentially would be allowed.

1:20 p.m. - Kleberg Co. Judge Rudy Madrid announced the county's ninth diagnosed case of COVID-19.

The previous LIVE BLOG can be found here.