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RGV COVID-19 April 16: 2 Deaths Reported In Cameron, Hidalgo Counties

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

This Post is Archived: Find the newest information on COVID-19 at the links below.
Texas Public Radio is updating information on COVID-19 in the Rio Grande Valley here. You can find the latest news from TPR in San Antonio here. Other NPR stations that are part of The Texas Newsroom are also live-blogging, including Houston Public Media, KERA in Dallas and KUT in Austin. 

The statewide coronavirus hotline is 2-1-1. CDC guidelines on what you need to know and what to do if you are sick with COVID-19 can be found here in English and Spanish, and embedded at the end of this live blog.
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Here's what we know...

Thursday, April 16

9 p.m. — Cameron County confirms fourth COVID-19 related death, 16 new reports of positive cases

Cameron County announced Thursday that an 82-year-old female resident of the Veranda Nursing Home has died at the facility after testing positive for COVID-19. This is the fourth COVID-related death in Cameron County and the third death related to the Veranda Nursing Home.
As of April 15, 50 residents at the Harlingen facility tested positive for COVID-19 along with 21 employees and five indivduals related to employees. A second area nursing home, Windsor Atrium, is connected to 31 active COVID-19 cases and one death.

Sixteen new cases were also confirmed in Cameron County on Thursday, bringing the total count of positive cases to 270 with 96 "recoveries." New reported cases range from the ages of 23 to 89, including residents from Brownsville, Harlingen, Los Fresnos, Port Isabel, Santa Rosa and San Benito.
8 p.m. —  Hidalgo County announces third COVID-19 related death, 10 new test positive

Hidalgo County confirmed on Thursday that a 77-year-old Mission man has died after testing positive for COVID-19. All three deaths related to the disease in the county have been older men with "underlying health issues." 

10 new people tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday and three have been released from isolation after showing no symptoms for 10 days and no fever over the last three days. According to a county press release, there are 29 patients in area hospitals and six are in intensive care.

Hidalgo County has recorded a total number of 235 positive cases since March 21.

5 p.m. — Cameron County issues Supplemental Emergency Management order and recommendations on face coverings, travel restrictions

Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. updated countywide recommendations related to facial coverings and travel restrictions on Thursday through a supplemental management order.

In a press release, Cameron County clarified that face masks or coverings are not required for outdoor activities like "walking, jogging and exercising."
Following CDC and WHO guidelines, the county also recommended limiting essential travel to no more than 2 individuals since social distancing is not achievable in vehicles.

3 p.m. — Congressman Vicente Gonzalez press conference addresses the region's economic needs

Congressman Vicente Gonzalez, who represents the 15th district of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives, urged small business owners to continue to apply for federal loans despite news on Thursday that the national Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has run out of funds.

At a press conference Thursday, Gonzales said he's "very confident" that Congress will be able to provide additional relief. 

"Right now, we're going through some negotiations in Washington but even through this complication, I hope to see PPP bill funding in the next week and that we get this resolved soon," he said.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Small Business Administration's online gateway for lenders has been "unable to accept applications for the Paycheck Protection Program." 

1 p.m. — Hidalgo County Clerk shifts to appointment-only meetings for in-person services

Starting Thursday, April 16, Hidalgo County Clerk Arturo Guajardo, Jr. will close the Clerk's Office to walk-in visitors and require advanced appointments. 

While services will continue to be provided by "phone, email or electronically," the Clerk's offices advises residents to contact the following phone numbers depending on need:

  • (956) 318-2100 for court settings or request for copies of court records
  • (956) 292-7676 for marriage licenses, birth/death certificates, property records, assumed named certificate, liens, or release of liens and all other official records
  • (956) 292-7669 for collections of court costs and fines or to set up a payment plan 

CDC Guidelines in English and Spanish