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Nueces County Judge Tests Negative for COVID-19

Judge Barbara Canales will self-quarantine for projected incubation period

Post Date:06/17/2020 5:30 PM

Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales announced Wednesday that she tested negative for coronavirus. She was tested due to a potential exposure at work in the courthouse and a potential exposure at home from a family member. She learned of both of these potential exposures within 90 minutes on Tuesday afternoon. The other members of Judge Canales household have also tested negative for coronavirus.

Judge Canales wishes to share her personal health status in the interest of public safety and to reduce concern for the many members of the public she meets with as part of her official duties.

The Judge’s potential exposure to the employee who tested positive took place on Wednesday, June 10, so while she only learned of her potential infection on June 16, the two-week incubation period began at the latest point of possible exposure. Conditions permitting, the Judge intends to return to work in the courthouse on Thursday, June 25.

On Tuesday afternoon, Judge Canales learned that a member of her household had a positive nasal antigen test for the coronavirus antibody, which by itself can only indicate either an active infection or a recovered infection. Additional testing and analysis would be required to determine the meaning of that nasal antigen test. Late last night, Judge Canales was notified that the family member tested positive for COVID based on a nasal swab PCR test.

Judge Canales was not in the courthouse or a county building at the time she was notified of her family member’s test results and went directly to her home. Shortly after receiving that news, she was notified that an employee in the courthouse had tested positive for the virus (nasal swab PCR test, indicating presence of the virus).

 Upon learning about the positive test, Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales initiated a meeting of key county department heads and consulted with the Corpus Christi – Nueces County Public Health District to formulate a plan to assess the situation, identify at-risk personnel, authorize work from home for at-risk personnel, and arrange testing for those needed.

After the meeting concluded, the potentially impacted employees needed to be individually notified of their potential exposure and instructed with procedures for remote work, self-quarantine with family members, and how to manage health in their household such as at-risk (elderly, immune compromised, respiratory illness, etc.). The public was notified as soon as possible after the employee notifications were complete.

As the employee who tested positive works in an office which does not have customer- or public-facing functions, health experts determined that closing the entire courthouse was not necessary.

Out of an abundance of caution, all critical infrastructure employees who came in contact with the positive individual will be tested and quarantined for the required time period.

Nueces County government is fully functional via remote work procedures instituted earlier during the pandemic.

Nueces County is committed to ensuring the safety of all employees, and will take necessary action to protect personnel, their families, and the community.

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