By Gaige Davila
Two people who stayed on South Padre Island in the last three months have tested positive for COVID-19, a novel coronavirus declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, sources familiar with the persons’ conditions told the PRESS.
The sources are affiliated with Sangria Condominiums. The sources requested the PRESS to withhold their identities and positions.
The two people were guests at the Sangria Condominiums on South Padre Island. The persons were from Michigan, returning to their home state on March 11. The persons, who were regular guests at Sangria Condominiums, arrived on January 1.
The persons traveled to Idaho to attend a wedding between February 28 and March 2 then returned to the Island.
Between March 2 and March 11, the two persons began feeling ill. It is believed that the two persons stayed in their Sangria Condominiums unit for the majority of their time there, the sources said, but it is not clear where they went or who they interacted with within those 9 days. One of the persons is currently on a ventilator and is in critical condition, according to the sources. The other person is “okay.”
The two persons’ family has declined to be interviewed by the PRESS, requesting privacy.
Cameron County confirmed the cases in a March 18 press release.
“We are in the process of gathering information to include contacts that may have possibly been exposed to ensure that we contain it,” stated Esmeralda Guajardo. Health Administrator. “Fortunately, based on the information we have received thus far, the two individuals took proactive measures and home–isolated themselves after their return trip from Idaho until they left South Padre Island.”
“This is why I have consistently been telling the public, school administrators, the medical community and the political leadership for the last two weeks, that we need to all unite and be proactive to undertake any and all necessary drastic measures and make these decisions that will help address this very serious situation,” Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr. said in the same press release. “I understand that these decisions are potentially devastating to trade and commerce, but unless they are made, we won’t be able to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.”
The sources say there were multiple attempts to contact the City of South Padre Island, where they spoke with city officials, South Padre Island Fire Department, South Padre Island Police Department. The sources also contacted the Cameron County Public Health department.
The source said they have been attempting to tell the City of South Padre Island and Cameron County for the last two days of the confirmed cases, including emailing the persons’ contact information and information regarding their stay at Sangria Condominiums.
The Cameron County Health Department has asked Sangria Condominium staff to quarantine themselves, where staff will have to take their temperatures in the morning and at night, see a doctor if they have symptoms, and submit the temperatures to the department after March 26. Cameron County Health Department will be contacting the staff members daily, according to the sources.
Sangria Condominiums will not reopen until after the 26, pending results from staff quarantines.
Sangria Condominiums has notified all their guests of the persons’ conditions and has reimbursed their rental payments. Staff have been sent home and the condominiums are currently being deep cleaned, the sources said.
As of March 18, there are 76 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Texas, according to the Texas Tribune. In Texas, three people have died from COVID-19 and over 1,900 people have been tested.
COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that causes respiratory illness. The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11.
Cameron County Public Health department has tested 10 people for COVID-19 so far, with 3 people pending results. Seven tests came back negative. The department has monitored 50 in self-quarantine people so far, clearing 15 of them with 35 persons pending.
Cameron County has created a COVID–19 Hotline. The number is 956-247–3650.