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RGV COVID-19 Blog: 1 Death In Hidalgo County As 21 More Test Positive In Valley


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...

Thursday, April 30

7:30 p.m. – 1 death, 11 new cases of COVID-19 in Cameron County

Cameron County Public Health confirmed Thursday that a 92-year-old male resident of the Windsor Atrium nursing home has died. This is the fourth COVID-19 related death connected to a nursing home  this week. 

Harlingen's nursing home clusters knowingly account for about 36 percent of cases recorded so far and directly linked to 17 out of the 18 deaths reported in the county. This is the seventh death for the Windsor Atrium facility, which is connected to nearly 60 cases: 31 employees and 28 residents have tested positive since March.

Another area facility, the Veranda Nursing home, has seen 10 deaths after 31 employees and 58 residents tested positive.

There are now 412 reports of COVID-19 cases in Cameron County. The 11 new cases confirmed on Thursday include residents from Brownsville, Harlingen and San Benito. All are linked to a previous cases with the exception of a 37-year-old female from Brownsville who was determined to be a case of community transmission. 

The two youngest cases reported on Thursday include a 5-year-old male and an 8-year-old female, both from Brownsville. The oldest is a 96-year-old female from Harlingen, who is likely a resident of the Windsor Atrium nursing home based on data shared by the county.

6:30 p.m. Ten additional cases confirmed in Hidalgo County as the county's emergency order expires at midnight

Hidalgo County officials confirmed Thursday that 10 new cases of COVID-19 have been discovered in the community. Thirteen people have also been "released from isolation" after showing no symptoms for 10 days and no fever for the past three days. 

The county's emergency order instituting "shelter-at-home" protocols is set to expire Thursday at midnight. Judge Richard F. Cortez amended Hidalgo County's emergency order to accommodate Texas Governor Greg Abbott's decision to reopen the state this week.

Starting on Friday, businesses formerly deemed "non-essential" like retail stores, dine-in restaurants, movie theaters, and shopping malls can begin operating at 25 percent capacity.

Judge Cortez addressed the change in a "We Know What Works" address to the community Thursday afternoon.

"The order that I signed today will be effective at midnight tonight," Cortez said. "It does away and expires the 'shelter-at-home' provision, does away with the curfews, does away with the limited travel and it doesn't require you to wear a mask or a protective cloth on your mouth or face, but it certainly recomments it." 

There have been over 4,000 tests conducted in Hidalgo County for the novel coronavirus, the majority of which came back negative. There are currently 111 tests still pending in the county. 

Of the 334 recorded cases of COVID-19, there are only 133 active cases according to the county's current data. Six have died and 195 have been released. Twelve remain in area hospitals for treatment including two in intestive care.

2 p.m. – 747 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Valley, 24 have died

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

  • 324 cases, 6 deaths in Hidalgo County
  • 401 cases, 17 deaths in Cameron County
  • 13 cases, 1 death in Willacy County
  • 9 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