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RGV COVID-19 Blog: 5 Deaths Reported This Week As Cameron County Hits 600 Positive Cases

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 NPRstations 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...

Sunday, May 17

6:30 p.m. – 15 additional positive cases of COVID-19 in Hidalgo County

Fifteen Hidalgo County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 over the weeekend, county officials announced on Sunday. 
“As more testing sites open in Hidalgo County this week, we can expect to see an increase in positive cases,” said County Judge Richard F. Cortez said in a statement. “We have anticipated this and continue to urge the public to practice physical distancing, good hygiene and to stay home as much as possible.”

There have been 440 recorded cases of COVID-19 in the county since March. Ten people have died from complications related to the disease.

Currently, county data indicates 253 releases from isolation and 177 active cases. Sixteen patients remain in Hidalgo County hospitals for treatment with three in intensive care.

To find available testing sites near you, visit txcovidtest.org or call 512-883-2400.

Saturday, May 16

8 p.m. – 18 new cases confirmed in Cameron County, one new case in Starr County

An 11-year-old boy from Escobares is the latest confirmed case of COVID-19 in Starr County, county officials announced on Saturday. 

This is case number 17 in the county with ten recoveries and seven active cases, according to Starr County Judge Eloy Vera. 

On Saturday evening, Cameron County Public Health announced 18 additional cases of COVID-19, raising the total number of reported cases to 619.

Saturday's group included 13 residents of Brownsville including the youngest and oldest cases reported: community transmission in a 26-year-old female and a 78-year-old male linked to a previous case. 

Also reported were four new cases in Harlingen – including three in their 50s – and a 38-year-old female from Santa Rosa, all linked to previous cases. 

According to the county, 31 individuals have recently improved after testing positive for COVID-19, bringing the number of "recovered" cases to 398.  

Friday, May 15

8 p.m. – One death, 19 new cases confirmed in Cameron County

A 98-year-old female resident of the Windsor Atrium nursing home is the latest COVID-19 related death in Cameron County, which reported four other elderly fatalities since Monday, May 11.

Windsor Atrium is now connected to 94 positive cases, which has resulted in 13 resident deaths. It is one of three care facilities in the area with recorded outbreaks among residents or staff, which together account for a third of the total cases and 85 percent of the deaths reported in-county.

There are now 601 recorded cases of COVID-19 in the Cameron County. Reports of 19 newly diagnosed cases and 15 individuals who recently recovered were made public on Friday, taking the total number of symptom-free cases to 367, according to Cameron County Public Health.

6:30 p.m. – Eight new reports of positive COVID-19 tests in Hidalgo County

There are now 425 positive cases of COVID-19 recorded in Hidalgo County after officials announced eight additional cases on Friday. The new reports are residents of Edinburg, Mission, Weslaco, San Juan and McAllen. 

According to county data, there are currently 162 active cases and 253 recoveries in the community. There are 16 patients receiving treatment in Hidalgo County hospitals with three in intensive care. 
5 p.m. – Mobile testing sites available over weekend in the 15th district of Texas

U.S. Congressman Vicente Gonzalez announced the addition of new COVID-19 testing sites in Duval and Hidalgo counties this week via press release
The new locations are:  

  • Mercedes Safe Dome/ Recreation Center in Mercedes (1202 N. Vermont Ave.)
  • Elias Longoria Middle School in Edinburg (14101 N. Rooth Road)
  • San Carlos Elementary in Edinburg (505 South 83rd St.)
  • Progresso High School (300 Shelby Ave.)
  • Benavides Civic Center (131 Main St.)

Those who have experienced symptoms of COVID-19 like fever, sore throat or coughing are encouraged to seek testing, which requires a pre-screening process and appointment secured through txcovidtest.orgor by calling 512-883-2400.

To find a testing site close to you, view this interactive map from the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the Texas Department of State Health Services. 
2 p.m. – 1,029 confirmed cases, 37 deaths connected to COVID-19 in the Valley

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

  • 417 cases, 10 deaths in Hidalgo County
  • 582 cases, 26 deaths in Cameron County
  • 14 cases, 1 death in Willacy County
  • 16 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.

| Find previous COVID-19 blogs here |

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


Jan Ross Piedad Sakian is TPR’s News Operations Producer. In this role, she develops strategy on collaborative and digital initiatives for the station. Since 2016, Jan Ross has served in a coordinating capacity for TPR’s state and national partners, including The Texas Newsroom.
Reynaldo Leaños Jr. can be reached at reynaldo@tpr.org and on Twitter at @ReynaldoLeanos