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RGV COVID-19 April 21: Cameron County Confirms 2 Deaths As Positive Cases In Valley Reach 600

Courtesy: Ronnie Garza
A line of cars forms around the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in McAllen, Texas for Catholic Charities' emergency pantry distribution on Tuesday, April 21.

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...

Tuesday, April 21

10 p.m.  –  613 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in the Rio Grande Valley

Eighteen new cases reported from Cameron and Hidalgo counties combined have pushed the total number of COVID-postive individuals past the 600-mark. There have been 13 deaths in Rio Grande Valley directly attributed to COVID-19 since April 4. 

Data visualizations are maintained, updated and published by journalist Ronnie Garza on the website https://www.rgvcovid19info.com. Hover over the graph to view values.

9:30 p.m. – Cameron County confirms 2 deaths, 11 new positive cases

Cameron County Public Health announed Tuesday that two residents of the Veranda Nursing Home have died: an 89-year-old female and 55-year-old male. This raises the number of deaths to five for the Veranda Nursing Home, where 26 employees and 56 residents tested positive. 

Windsor Atrium, another area nursing home with numerous COVID-positive cases, has seen 2 resident deaths in the last four days. There are now 10 COVID-19 related deaths reported in Cameron County.

After 11 additional cases were reported on Tuesday, there are now 321 recorded cases of COVID-19 in Cameron County. Ten of the new reports are connected to exisiting positive cases, with the exception of one 87-year-old male from Harlingen who is believed to have contracted the virus through community transmission.

County officials say 127 individuals have "recovered" from the virus.

8:30 p.m. Seven new cases of COVID-19 in Hidalgo County, surpasses 3,000 mark for tests

Hidalgo County has reported 275 positive cases of COVID-19 since the county found its first positive case one month ago on March 21.
On Tuesday, the county confirmed seven additional cases of COVID-19, but also released numbers showing that 20 people have been "released from isolation" on the same day.

Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez said they conducted over 3,000 COVID-19 tests, the majority of which were administered through private laboratories.
7 p.m. – Food Bank RGV distributes free produce Wednesday morning from 9 to 11 a.m. in Harlingen

The Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley has moved to a mobile distribution model in response to COVID-19. 
A "pop-up" distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables is scheduled from 9 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 22 at the Harlingen Soccer Complex until supplies last. The following guidelines apply for distribution: 

  • Bring a photo ID
  • A maximum of two families per car
  • All passengers must wear a mask
  • Please have an empty car trunk

Catholic Charties of the Rio Grande Valley is also working to tackle food insecurity with distributions from their emergency pantry at multiple locations including their Brownsville office at 955 W. Price Road and at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in McAllen, where food was distributed earlier today.
2 p.m. – Texas Representatives in U.S. Congress request more federal funding for southwest border region

U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar and Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico have sent a letter to House leadership asking that they include additional money for southwestern border communities in any upcoming COVID-19 relief package.

Cuellar and Torres Small sent the letter last week to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer asking them to fully fund the Southwest Border Regional Commission in any upcoming COVID-19 stimulus relief package. 

“Our vibrant border community is critical to economic health in southern New Mexico,” said Torres Small. “While day-to-day life has changed overnight, many families and local businesses are working hard to adapt. The Southwest Border Regional Commission, previously authorized with bipartisan support, would help provide stability and relief in communities along the southern border.”

The letter says funding the full amount of $33 million dollars would help fund infrastructure projects and create jobs in these communities. Texas representatives Veronica Escobar and Vicente Gonzalez co-signed the letter along two other Arizona lawmakers.

The SBRC was originally created to deal with economic distress in the states of Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas.

1 p.m. Positive cases of COVID-19 in 4 counties nears 600 

As of Tuesday morning, there are 595 positive cases of COVID-19 in the Rio Grande Valley:

  • 268 in Hidalgo County since April 20
  • 310 cases in Cameron County since April 20
  • 10 in Willacy County since April 20
  • 7 in Starr County since April 5
CDC Guidelines in English and Spanish