The study also points out that Nueces County ranks 176th out of 244 counties across the state on health and quality of life.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A new study is taking a closer look at how the COVID-19 pandemic affected various demographics in Nueces County and other health issues in the area. 

The study not only shows how black and Hispanic residents have been hit harder by the virus, but it also spotlights some of the socioeconomic disadvantages they face which led to the higher rates of death.

The Texas Health Institute‘s final report focused on health data for Nueces County residents before and after the start of the pandemic. The goal was to come up with an accurate overview of the factors that shape everyone’s health. 

The nonprofit put the information together for the Nueces County office of emergency management and the hospital District at a cost of $503,000.

One thing that the report found was that Hispanic and black residents have higher COVID-19 rates compared to their share of the population. 

Hispanics make up 64% of the county but 68% came down with COVID-19. 

White residents make up 29% of the population and 27% tested positive. 

Meanwhile, 4% of Black residents had Covid while they make up 3% of the folks living in Nueces County.

“It’s not strange or random, if you will, that we know those people most vulnerable and or affected in certain areas are going to have a higher positivity because why they’re on the front lines they expose more,” Judge Barbara Canales, Nueces County said. 

The study also found that those folks who live on the City’s northside have a life expectancy of 70 years, while those who live on the east side of town in higher income neighborhoods can expect to live up to 85 years of age. 

Some of the contributing factors listed were high rates of obesity and diabetes among those northside residents.

“If I live on one side of town my life expectancy is so radically different than if I live on the other side of town, we’ve got to make sure that is not our future. It might be our present but I have to believe that was some steering and focus it’s a very important acknowledgment of what’s going on that we have ability to change that.” Canales said. 

The study also points out that Nueces County ranks 176th out of 244 counties across the state on health and quality of life.

Dr. Jacqueline Phillips is with the Amistad Community Health Center. She provided information to the authors of the study. But one of the most surprising findings of the study that she noticed what is the effect education had on people’s health.

“People that don’t have a diploma tend to have poorer outcomes, so the high school diploma did not guarantee you better outcomes but definitely if you did not have one you had poorer health outcomes,” Phillips said. 

Judge Canales says the County is working on funding more of this research to get the facts and statistics to help combat mental health and drug problems.

“What we’re looking at is focusing our efforts on mental health and behavioral health we’re looking at focusing on access to healthcare in general for those people who are the most vulnerable,” Canales said.  

One goal in all of this is to be able to have the actual facts and statistics to show the state and federal government what kind of help residents in Nueces County actually need. Many times, grants and other programs are awarded strictly on the basis of the size of a county. The Judge says with the results of this study, the county can go after even more money to try and turn around the health fortunes of so many people who have been historically underserved and overlooked. 

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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