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Border & Immigration

RGV COVID-19: Hidalgo County Ends Curfew As Health Authority Recommends Delaying In-School Instruction

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Haga clic aquí para leer las últimas noticias en español.

Texas Public Radio is providing COVID-19 updates and information for the Rio Grande Valley and the San Antonio area. You can read news stories in Spanish under "TPR Noticias: COVID-19" here.

Friday, September 25

Over 58,500 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed across the Rio Grande Valley's four counties.

Cases reported in the Rio Grande Valley amount to about 8 percent of Texas' total confirmed case count of 723,919.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 related deaths across the RGV officially surpassed 2,700 on September 24. 

On Sept. 25, Hidalgo County issued two local orders in response to COVID-19, which both take effect on Sept. 28.

In an official order, Hidalgo County Health Authority Dr. Ivan Melendez advised that schools delay on-campus instruction until October 25. Schools that choose to reopen must provide health officials with a reopening plan and they must report incidents of infection to the county.

County Judge Richard F. Cortez's latest order dropped the daily curfew but kept guidance on facial coverings and restrictions on gatherings up to 50 percent.

Governor Greg Abbott recently announced that businesses in most Texas cities can expand capacity to 75 percent starting Monday, Sept. 21. The loosening of restrictions, however, does not apply to the Rio Grande Valley, Laredo and Victoria since virus-related hospitalizations in these areas continue to track above 15 percent.

Hidalgo County reported 191 new COVID-19 cases and 19 related deaths on Friday.

Of the latest fatalities, four people were in their 50s and 13 people were in their 70s or older. The death of a male in his 60s from Weslaco was also reported.

The number of known cases has reached 31,562 in-county. According to Hidalgo County officials, there are now 1,630 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The number of active COVID-19 cases in the community is up to 2,173 compared to 2,090 reported on Wednesday, September 16. 

Overall, at least 27,759 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 180 COVID-19 patients receiving treatment in Hidalgo County hospitals including 77 in intensive care. 

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. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has classified the City of Edinburg as a COVID-19 hotspot.

On Friday, Cameron County Public Health confirmed an additional 65 "laboratory reports of COVID-19," including 32 residents of Brownsville, 9 from Harlingen, and 12 from San Benito. Additional cases were also reported in six other municipalities.

There are approximately 22,698 known COVID-19 cases in Cameron County. At least 19,879 individuals who previously tested positive have now "recovered" according to the county.

Ten additional deaths were reported on Friday, taking the total number of COVID-19 related fatalities in Cameron County up to 913. 

​Cameron County has the fifth most COVID-19 related deaths in the state despite being the 13th largest county.

Starr & Willacy Counties

According to the Starr County Health Authority, a total of eight people tested positive for COVID-19 on Sept. 23.

On Wednesday, county data showed 615 active COVID-19 cases and 2,948 recoveries.

Starr County's Health Authority has not received updated information from the Texas Department of Health on patients released from quarantine since Sept. 14. According to a statement on the county's Facebook page, a letter has been sent to TDH and officials "are expecting a response soon."

The Texas Department of Health has certified a total of 159 fatalities in Starr County. 

On Sept. 18, the county's new health authority Dr. Antonio Falcon addressed the public in English and Spanish via Facebook Live.

 

On September 2, Starr County announced a one-time emergency assistance program for colonia residents who have lost income as a result of social distancing and other public health restrictions beginning in March. The program offers assistance of up to three months to cover mortgage and utility costs as well as assistance with food expenses.

 

Data from the Texas Department of State Health Services shows 1,198 known cases in Willlacy County. At least 46 of those infections led to fatalities.

Willacy County issued a public health emergency and closed county offices to the public in an effort to curb further spread of the disease.

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

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 |

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