RGV COVID-19: Hidalgo County Reports 204 Additional Cases As Cameron County Reaches 22,000 Recoveries
Wednesday, October 28
Over 64,250 cases of COVID-19 and at least 3,260 virus-related deaths have been confirmed across the Rio Grande Valley's four counties.
Positive tests reported in the Rio Grande Valley amount to about 7% percent of Texas' total confirmed case count, which currently stands at 879,994 cases.
Officials across the Rio Grande Valley are asking residents to plan to take extra precautions during the fall holidays. Various counties also added restrictions to Halloween events like door-to-door trick-or-treating this week.
In Hidalgo County, where COVID-19 deaths are nearing 2,000, Judge Richard F. Cortez amended safety orders with recommendations for lower-risk alternatives for Dia de Los Muertos and Halloween, including celebrating at home or through drive-by activities.
His orders also suggest adjustments for Thanksgiving such as holding a small meal with household members, or a virtual dinner and shopping online the day after Thanksgiving.
In Willacy County, orders by County Judge Aurelio Guerra prohibit crowded costume parties, indoor haunted houses, and attending festivals outside the community.
Guerra's orders allow for low-risk Halloween activities like virtual costume contests, and scavenger hunt-style searches for candy with members of the household.
Violations could lead to fines of up to 500 dollars. The order is in place from October 23 through November 2.
On Wednesday, Starr County Judge Eloy Vera issued an order prohibiting door-to-door trick-or-treating along with a reminder to "not use a costume mask in place of a cloth mask."
The announcement outlined a list of low and moderate risk activities for the holiday and outlined enforcement of the order, which includes a $250 fine. The order will stay in place until Nov. 6.
Hidalgo & Cameron Counties
On Monday, Hidalgo County's Health and Human Services Department announced four new cases of the West Nile virus and three new cases of Dengue Fever. Both are mosquito-borne illnesses.
The CDC says that West Nile is the leading virus spread by mosquitoes in the continental United States.
“In many areas of the country, mosquito season is typically during the summer,” Health and Human Services Director Eduardo Olivarez said in a statement. “But in South Texas, we see mosquito-borne illnesses more often in October, November and December.”
Cases of West Nile were found in the Mercedes, Weslaco and Edinburg areas, according to the county.
Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez recently signed new orders extending COVID-19 safety measures. This includes the use of facial coverings, 75 percent capacity for businesses, and 50 percent capacity for indoor events with the exception of churches. Bars will remain closed in the county.
The order took effect on Monday, October 26 and "shall remain in effect until the Judge modifies or rescinds it with new orders."
On Wednesday, Hidalgo County reported 204 new COVID-19 cases, including 27 cases among youth 0 to 19 years old. Many cases continue to be found among Hidalgo County residents in their 20s or 30s.
The county reported six virus-related deaths on Wednesday. Hidalgo, Mercedes, Pharr, McAllen, Weslaco, and Edinburg each saw one death. The youngest fatality of the group was a male in his 50s from Hidalgo. Two of the fatalities reported on Wednesday were in their 60s and three were in their 70s or older.
The number of known cases has reached 35,485 in-county. According to Hidalgo County officials, there are now 1,940 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.
The number of active COVID-19 cases in the community is down to 2,225 compared to 2,374 reported two weeks earlier on Oct. 14.
At least 31,320 residents who previously tested positive for COVID-19 have been released from isolation by the county after being "symptom-free" for 10 days including three days without a fever.
There are now 176 people hospitalized for COVID-19 in the county, including 74 in intensive care units.
During COVID-19's peak in the region, many hospitals in the Rio Grande Valley were at or near capacity. In some instances, patients were flown outside of the region for treatment to cities like San Antonio.
In the state of Texas, Hidalgo and Cameron are in the list of top 8 counties with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases.
During an Oct. 16 press conference, Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr. said that physicians, nurses and health officials that were sent to his county to help with a previous spike of COVID-19 cases will now be relocated to Amarillo, Lubbock and El Paso.
“All I can do is hope and pray. We’re being told in the event that we need them again that they’ll be back down here," Treviño said. "The problem again is that the entire state is going through the same situation there’s only so many physicians and nurses and our local nurses and doctors are going to be taxed.”
On Wednesday, Cameron County Public Health confirmed an additional 30 "laboratory reports of COVID-19," including 10 residents of Brownsville, three from Harlingen, and seven in San Benito.
Two cases were reported in La Feria and eight cases were reported in Los Fresnos.
There are approximately 24,180 known COVID-19 cases in Cameron County. At least 22,002 individuals who previously tested positive have now "recovered," according to the county.
The county reported no deaths on Wednesday.
The COVID-19 death toll in Cameron County is now up to 1,081. Cameron County has the fifth most COVID-19 related deaths in the state despite being the 13th largest county.
On Oct. 14, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine is hosted a "joint national virtual forum" discussing the impact of COVID-19 in communities between Texas and New York. The event – organized in partnership with Congressmen Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) and Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) – includes a panel of medical experts and was streamed on Facebook Live.
Starr & Willacy Counties
According to the Starr County Health Authority, 13 people tested positive for COVID-19 on October 27. The county reported 265 active COVID-19 cases and 3,492 recoveries. Fatalities remain at 185.
Starr County's Facebook page will post updates on free National Guard test sites that will be held periodically in the region.
View the latest Starr County COVID-19 press conference on Facebook Live.
Data from the Texas Department of State Health Services shows 1,232 known cases in Willacy County. At least 54 of those infections led to fatalities.
Click here to view an interactive map of available COVID-19 test sites in Texas.
Data visualizations from public information in the Rio Grande Valley
Beyond the Rio Grande Valley, here are the cases as reported by Johns Hopkins University
Zoom in and scroll to find data on areas across the globe. Find more information at Johns Hopkins coronavirus resource center.
The CDC has provided COVID-19 guidelines in English and Spanish