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RGV COVID-19 Live Blog: 2 Deaths, New Cases In Valley As Texas Begins Phase II Of Reopening


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...

Monday, May 18

8:30 p.m. – 2 deaths and 16 news cases in Cameron County

Two patients – previously reported as positive for COVID-19 – have died while receiving treatment in area hospitals, Cameron County Public Health confirmed on Monday. 

The 84-year-old female and the 69-year-old male are among other elderly victims who have died from complications related to the novel coronavirus in-county. There are now 29 deaths related to the disease in Cameron County, which leads the Rio Grande Valley in the number of COVID-related deaths and cases. 

Two recoveries and 16 additional cases were also confirmed on Monday. Cameron County has recorded 635 positive cases of COVID-19, 400 of which have been cleared as recoveries. 

8 p.m. – Hidalgo County reports 8 additional cases of COVID-19

Eight additional cases of the novel coronavirus in Hidalgo County were announced on Monday, bringing the total number of active cases to 184.

The new reports are residents of Alton, Mission, Pharr, and McAllen. One case of a male below the age of 20 shows an "undisclosed" location, according to county data. 

Hidalgo County has tested over 7,200 residents for COVID-19 so far, resulting in 448 positive results. Out of those positive cases, 254 individuals have been cleared from isolation after being symptom-free for 10 days, including three days with no fever before release. 

4 p.m. – Two more cases reported in Starr County 

Two relatives of previously confirmed cases have tested positive for COVID-19 in Starr County on Monday, according to The Monitor.

Starr County Health Authority Dr. Jose Vasquez says that one of the new cases is linked to a relative who lives out of state.

There are now ten active cases of the novel coronavirus. 19 cases have been confirmed in Starr County, including 10 individuals who have been cleared and released from isolation since diagnosis. 

2 p.m. – Phase II of reopening the Texas economy begins

Texas continues the phased reopening of its economy today as Governor Greg Abbott is expected to announce additional businesses that will be allowed to re-welcome customers. 

Offices, non-essential manufacturers, gyms, and exercise facilities may open their doors but must operate at 25% capacity and observe other safety guidelines.

The Governor’s office released a checklist for businesses reopening their doors, which includes health protocols for employees and sanitization guidelines for facilities.

Governor Abbott’s announcement this afternoon comes two days after the state saw it’s highest number of new COVID-19 cases in a single day since the outbreak began. There were 1,801 confirmed cases across the state on Saturday alone.

More than 700 of those were workers in meat-packing plants in the Texas panhandle where the Governor deployed one of his surge-response teams to test thousands of plant workers. 

The Governor assures Texans that the state has what it needs to address these spikes.

12 p.m. – 1,090 confirmed cases, 38 deaths connected to COVID-19 in the Valley

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

  • 440 cases, 10 deaths in Hidalgo County
  • 619 cases, 27 deaths in Cameron County
  • 14 cases, 1 death in Willacy County
  • 17 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