Local leaders address dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases, issue disaster declaration

Victoria County up to 150 active cases as of Monday evening

VICTORIA, Texas — On Tuesday, Victoria Office of Emergency Management (OEM) personnel addressed the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the Golden Crescent.

As of Monday afternoon, Victoria County was reporting 150 active cases of the novel coronavirus, while the Golden Crescent region had 252 active cases. Both of those figures are record highs, and County Judge Ben Zeller acknowledged they will likely continue to increase.

Despite the area’s increase in numbers — up from just 15 active cases on June 2nd — local officials said there are still no plans for another executive order or city mandate that might cause businesses to shut back down.

“The approach we’re taking with this public health issues is to serve as a resource for direction and information and guidance, rather than by issuing orders or mandates or threatening residents and businesses with fines like you’re seeing in some other jurisdictions,” said Zeller.

Zeller added that while there were no plans to implement restrictive measures like a mask mandate, he encouraged local businesses to enforce their own mask policies.

Victoria Mayor Rawley McCoy also spoke at the briefing, stressing a community approach in continuing to follow the CDC’s social distancing and sanitation guidelines.

“Instead of me, we need to be talking more about we,” said McCoy.

McCoy also announced the county has issued another disaster declaration to help officials better combat the virus’ spread in Victoria County.

Victoria Public Health Authority Dr. John McNeill said one of his primary concerns regards hospitalization rates, and how the recent spike in cases might present a burden on the health care system in the coming weeks.

“I can tell you one of the things that we really watch is the number of patients that are hospitalized, and as of last week hospitalizations in Texas have gone up about 85%,” said McNeill. “So, that is something that we watch and that we’re concerned about.”

McNeill added that most patients hospitalized for COVID-19 are admitted well into their battle with the virus, so the impact of the recent surge may be felt more in the coming weeks.

While no city or county mandates were issued Tuesday, local officials said all options will remain on the table moving forward.

A copy of the Mayor’s disaster declaration can be found here: https://www.victoriatx.gov/DocumentCenter/View/2456/City-of-Victoria-Declaration-of-Local-Disaster?bidId=