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RGV COVID-19 Blog: 1 Death, 24 New Cases Reported In Valley

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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 MediaKERA 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.
TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.

Here's what we know...

Wednesday, April 29

9 p.m. – Another nursing home resident death, 14 additional cases confirmed by Cameron County

Cameron County Public Health announced Wednesday that an 84-year-old female resident of the Windsor Atrium nursing home has died. This is the sixth death for the facility which is connected to nearly 60 cases: 31 employees and 28 residents have tested positive since March.

Harlingen's nursing home clusters knowingly account for about 37 percent of cases recorded so far and directly linked to 16 out of the 17 deaths reported in the county. 

There are now 401 reports of positive COVID-19 cases in Cameron County. The 14 new cases confirmed on Wednesday include:

  • Eight people from Brownsville all linked to previous cases including the youngest, a 3-year-old female
  • Three female cases from Harlingen ages 30, 69 and the oldest case of the group at 84 
  • One travel-related case in a 69-year-old male from Los Indios
  • One 49-year-old male from Olmito, linked to previous case
  • One case of community transmission in a 33-year-old male from San Benito

7:30 p.m. – Nine new cases reported in Hidalgo County as the number of tests conducted crosses the 4,000-mark

Hidalgo County confirmed nine additional cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total number of positive cases to 324. 

Four of the new cases are from Mission and two are from Edinburg. Other new reports include a man in his 30s from San Juan, a man in his 70s from Weslaco and a man in his 20s from Alamo.

Hidalgo County shared data on Wednesday indicating that 4,072 residents have been tested for COVID-19.

According to the county's calculations, the rate of positive cases is currently at 8.9 percent which is under the World Health Organization's recommended benchmark of 10 percent — a promising sign for the county. Test rates above the single digits, epidemiologists say, show that there is not enough testing to capture all infected persons in the public.

“Having this data will be helpful as the state begins to reopen,” Judge Richard F. Cortez said in a statement. “I’m a big proponent of using data as well as the advice of medical experts as a basis for decision-making about whether the reopening process is posing any concerns.”

5:30 p.m. – Starr County Judge Eloy Vera and County Health Authority Jose Vasquez discuss "What Works for Our Community" on livestream 

 
5 p.m. – Starr County confirms ninth positive case of COVID-19 

A second new case of the novel coronavirus was found in Starr County this week: a woman in her late 60s from Rio Grande City. 

On Monday, a man in his 30s from from Rio Grande City was the county's first reported case after three weeks of no new known infections.

Seven individuals who tested positive previously in mid-March and early April have already recovered, according to the county.

1 p.m. – Hidalgo County shares information on free meals for students 

Hidalgo County's Precint 2 Commissioner Eddie Cantu shared information on free "grab-and-go meals" for parents with children attending a number of area schools. 

Children do not need to be present to pick up the meals but parents will need to show a form of identitfication like a birth certificate, student ID or report card.

Pick-up is available at a number of area schools in Donna, Hidalgo and McAllen ISDs before the noon hour. Other systems like IDEA Public Schools or Vanguard Academy, as well as community organizations like Meals on Wheels and religious organizations, are running similar programs. Students do not need to be enrolled in a specific school district to receive meals from a particular site. 

12 p.m. – 723 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Valley, 23 have died

As of Wednesday morning, the four Valley-area counties have reported the following counts: 

  • 315 cases, 6 deaths in Hidalgo County
  • 387 cases, 16 deaths in Cameron County
  • 13 cases, 1 death in Willacy County
  • 8 cases in Starr County

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

Community Helpline Numbers

Statewide COVID-19 Resources

  • 2-1-1 (option 6)

Cameron County

  • 956-247-3650 (24/7) 

Hidalgo County

  • 956-292-7765 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Willacy and Starr Counties

  • 956-421-5505
CDC Guidelines in English and Spanish