By Gray News Staff | July 19, 2020 at 1:27 AM EDT – Updated November 16 at 1:47 PM
NUECES COUNTY, Texas (Gray News) – A health official on the Texas Gulf Coast encouraged residents to follow coronavirus restrictions, amid rising infections. The county has seen 85 infants test positive for the virus.
Corpus Christi Nueces County Public Health Director Annette Rodriguez said during a Friday public health update that the 85 infants who tested positive are each younger than 1. She encouraged residents to stay home and when in public, to wear face masks and employ social distancing measures.
“These babies have not even had their first birthday yet. Please help us to stop the spread of this disease,” Rodriguez said.
A county judge later clarified that Nueces County did not have a sudden surge in infant cases, KIII reports. The number referred to those who have tested positive since mid-March.
“Some people may say 85 doesn’t sound like a lot… It’s all how you look at it. Are these your children?” said Rodriguez in an interview. “These children are not 2 yet. They are under 1. They cannot wear a mask, and so, they are unprotected.”
One child under the age of 1 in the county died after testing positive for the virus, according to KIII. The child was brought to the hospital with unrelated symptoms and later died at home from sudden infant death syndrome.
An autopsy is being conducted to determine the exact cause of death and whether the coronavirus contributed.
Nueces County saw the number of new coronavirus cases skyrocket in July after a flattening trend, according to CNN.
Mayor Joe McComb of Corpus Christi, which is located in Nueces County, said in an interview that “we let our guard down.” He referred to factors such as the opening of beaches on Memorial Day and holding high school and college graduations.
Hospitals in Texas have been straining under one of the worst outbreaks in the United States. Teams of military medics have been deployed to help with the deluge of patients.
On Saturday, state health officials reported more than 10,000 new COVID-19 cases for a fifth consecutive day and said 130 more people have died.
Copyright 2020 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Associated Press contributed to this report.