RGV COVID-19 Live Blog: 2 Deaths As Rio Grande Valley Nears 900 Positive Cases | Texas Public Radio

RGV COVID-19 Live Blog: 2 Deaths As Rio Grande Valley Nears 900 Positive Cases

May 8, 2020

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...

Friday, May 8

8:30 p.m. – Cameron County announces two deaths and 11 new cases

Two eldery patients have died after testing positive for COVID-19, Cameron County officials confirmed on Friday. The two individuals were a 90-year-old male resident of the Windsor Atrium nursing home and an 87-year-old male who died at Valley Baptist Medical Center.

 Nineteen out of the county's 22 deaths directly connected to COVID-19 are due to cases that developed in area nursing homes. 

Also announced on Friday were 11 additional positive cases including another resident at the Veranda Nursing Home, which now has 60 positive cases among the elderly residents and 32 in employees.

 The youngest case reported on Friday is a four-month-old female from Brownsville linked to a previous case. There was one case of community spread in a 42-year-old female from Los Fresnos and a travel-related case in a 22-year-old male from Brownsville.  

Nine individuals who previously tested positive also "recovered" on Friday. According to county data, 256 of the county's 494 recorded positive cases have now recuperated. 

7:30 p.m. – Hidalgo County confirms nine more cases of COVID-19

Nine new cases of the novel coronavirus were found in Hidalgo County on Friday, bringing the total number of active cases to 152. 

The new reports include two Alamo residents in their 20s, the youngest cases of the group. Three cases are from Pharr, including two males in their 60s. Also reported: a female in her 40s from Mercedes, a male in his 40s from Weslaco, a male in his 30s from San Juan, and a female in her 30s from Edinburg.

There are currently 15 patients in Hidalgo County hospitals including four in intensive care. 

6:30 p.m. – Cameron County gives updated emergency management recommendations

County Judge Eddie Trevino, Jr. issued updated recommendations to emergency management orders after Governor Abbott's decision to reopen the state economy and supercede local policies.

The order, effective on Friday, "strongly recommends that all individuals within Cameron County continue to Shelter in Place, practice Social Distancing, utilize a facial covering or mask, and avoid unnecessary or non-essential travel."

The recommendations maintain the same guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19 like staying at home and wearing facial coverings. Cameron County leads the Rio Grande Valley in the number of confirmed cases and deaths. 

4 p.m. – Weekend COVID-19 testing available in Starr County

The Texas Department of State Health Services are hosting mobile test collections for COVID-19 this weekend:

  • Saturday, May 9 at the La Casita Community Center (6163 FM 1430) 
  • Sunday, May 10 at the La Rosita Fire Department Parking Lot (4192 W. US Highway 83) 
  • Monday, May 11 at the Abel N. Gonzalez Community Center (5105 FM 1017)

Testing is free and open from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. but requires an appointment by calling (512) 883-2400. For more information on testing sites and qualifying symptoms, visit TXCOVIDTEST.org 

1 p.m. – UT RGV School of Medicine plans virtual commencement on Saturday

The UT RGV School of Medicine's charter class of 2020 will be graduating via virtual commencement on Saturday, May 9 at 10 a.m. This is the first group of students to graduate from the medical school, which was founded in 2013.  

“We understand that this year’s graduation celebrations will be different,” Dr. Leonel Vela said in a statement. “But we definitely want to celebrate the achievements of the School of Medicine’s Charter Class of 2020. We want to share the pride and joy of the graduates’ families and friends, the faculty, and the university and Valley communities.”

Vela is the School of Medicine’s senior associate dean for Educational Resources and senior associate vice president for Education. Dr. Kenneth Shine, former executive vice chancellor for Health Affairs for the UT System, will deliver the keynote address. 

The virtual commencement is open to the public. Anyone interested in watching the ceremony can view the ceremony at UTRGV.edu/SOMGrad

12 p.m. 879 confirmed cases, 28 deaths connected to COVID-19 in the Valley

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

  • 368 cases, 7 deaths in Hidalgo County
  • 483 cases, 20 deaths in Cameron County
  • 14 cases, 1 death in Willacy County
  • 14 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