Mixed Signals Coming From County And City Officials Over Stay At Home Orders

(Southside Light News)-- Officials in Nueces County and the City of Corpus Christi have been sending out a bag of mixed signals to members of the public and the news media over the topic of an official lockdown or "stay-at-home" order for the city and the county.

It became apparent on Monday that the city and county were in the process of drafting some sort of response when word slipped out of a Port Aransas City Council meeting that Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales was meeting with members of Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb's staff and the County Attorney. It seemed that everybody expected some sort of memo or direction to be handed down on Tuesday. But as word quickly got out that many of the mayors and other officials in the county had not been consulted on the matter, things quickly changed.

On Tuesday afternoon City Council Member Paulette Guajardo (At-Large)  posted on Facebook that the Corpus Christi City Council was preparing to announce a "Stay-at-Home" emergency declaration and a Public Health Emergency Order. Guajardo said that she would post the order "as we finalize the details." As of post, that order has still not been handed down from city officials.

In what seemed to be a dissenting comment, councilmember Greg Smith (District 4) posted on Facebook that while a shelter-in-place is being discussed between the County Judge and Mayor McComb, no decision has been made.

In another twist, we have learned that the Nueces County Emergency Managers Office has been involved only to a limited extent on the discussions regarding the overall response to this crazy situation.

"I want to know what in Hell is going here," said Corpus Christi resident Mary Black. "We have to know who is in charge and we have to know who is leading here."

Black also wanted to know why the public has not been involved in the decision making process?

"So, we learned about this on Monday. If they have time to talk about it among themselves then they had time to ask for the public to comment on what we think ought to be done," Black said. "I am starting to think the Mayor and Judge Canales have no clue what is going on or what to do and that concerns me."

Ram Rodriguez, who calls the Brighton Village area home says that he feels the same way.

"I have been hearing the same thing and but am seeing nothing but a bunch of cars on the road like it is just another day," says Rodriguez. "I mean people in Corpus still don't take this seriously, I don't think."

And maybe they shouldn't because sources at both the County and the City have told us that any stay-at-home order that is put into place will be modeled after those in place elsewhere across the state. In theory, everybody is considered an "essential employee" and nearly every business that you could think of is considered "essential."

Even Governor Abbott spoke of it in his press conference on Tuesday.

"I was amazed at the amount of traffic still on the roadway," Governor Abbott said. "I still have options that I can use if I have too."

Another thing is that both city and county officials appear to be getting careless with their public information protocol. They have not had an official press conference since Saturday when they announced the first case of COVID-19 in Nueces County. Since then, 9 more cases have been confirmed--and where has the city and county been?  Good question.

Monday's press conference was cancelled about an hour before it was scheduled to start. According to them, there was "really nothing new to report."

Apparently, the city is set to resume drive-thru testing again on Thursday. Were you ever aware that it was stopped and for what reason? Again, another good question that nobody can seem to answer.

"Nobody" is a name that we seem to be getting pretty familiar with these days around here and it sure would be scary to think that "nobody" is in charge of communicating public health and safety information to the public.