RGV COVID-19 LIVE BLOG: 37.2% Of Rio Grande Valley Fully Vaccinated
LATEST IMMUNIZATION DATA VALLEY-WIDE
Texas DSHS reported that 512,9561 Rio Grande Valley residents have been fully vaccinated as of Wednesday, May 12 at 4:00 PM, with 7,615 newly completed vaccine courses in the past weekend. This represents 37.2% of the total population of the region.
LATEST INFECTION DATA
On Thursday, May 13 at 8:33 AM Hidalgo County reported that there are currently 1,361 active known cases of COVID-19 in the county including 192 new cases in the report. 109 people are hospitalized in the county with coronavirus as of today. The county also reported the deaths of 4 men in their 60s and 70s from Edinburg and Donna.
On Monday, May 10 at 9:01pm Cameron County reported that there are currently 2,850 active known cases of COVID-19 in the county including 78 new cases in the report. The county reported no deaths. This report includes data from over the weekend.
Doctor's Hospital at Renaissance is offering first and second Pfizer vaccinations daily Monday through Friday and on Sundays from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance (118 Paseo Del Prado). This is for those 16 years of age and above. No registration is required.
How To Sign Up For A COVID-19 Vaccine In Texas
RGV COVID NEWS UPDATES
71% Of Those 65 And Above Fully Vaccinated In The Rio Grande Valley, Other Age Groups Lagging Behind
Published May 11, 2021
While COVID vaccine demand has dropped overall in Texas and the Rio Grande Valley over the past few weeks, total administered doses have held steady. Daily counts have seen at least 1,300 per day for the past two weeks with some daily counts coming in under just 10,000 over the weekend.
Over the past seven days, 60,729 people have been fully vaccinated across all four Rio Grande Valley counties of Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, and Willacy.
However, the data show varying rates of vaccinated individuals by age group as a percentage. Only 45% of 16 to 49 year olds are currently vaccinated as compared to 71% of those 65 and over, although the younger group is receiving doses at three times the rate.
RGV COVID-19 LIVE BLOG: UT-RGV Returns To In-Person Commencements This Weekend With Graduation Ceremonies Across The Valley
Published May 7, 2021
After more than a year of holding only virtual commencement ceremonies for graduating cohorts each semester, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will become the first institution of higher education in the region to return to in-person ceremonies.
Others like South Texas College are still expanding accommodations for virtual graduations, such as new virtual photo stations across campuses available to students and families to visit individually. But UTRGV has invited students and their families to attend these events on campus.
“We had enough time to plan and develop an outdoor ceremony that we felt kept our students, our faculty, our staff and honored guests safe. That’s our first priority,” said Patrick Gonzalez, Associate Vice President of Communications at UTRGV. “With several months of planning and getting advice from our medical experts at the School of Medicine, we felt like we could move to in-person with an outdoor ceremony.”
While more than a third of the region has been fully vaccinated, Hidalgo County reported 124 hospitalizations from COVID infections today. Still, Gonzalez said very strict protocols will be in place for the events being held at 14 separate venues across Hidalgo and Cameron counties over the weekend.
“The fact that we got a lot of RSVPs makes us feel like we made the right decision that our students not only wanted a ceremony, but they felt confident that we could make it safe.”
For community members who may be especially vulnerable or concerned for their health, UTRGV will make a live stream of the ceremonies available.
RGV COVID-19 LIVE BLOG: As Walmart Allows Walk-In Vaccinations, Rio Grande Valley Locations Begin With Minimal Stock
Published May 4, 2021
Walmart and Sam’s Club announced today that the COVID-19 vaccine will become available for walk-in patients at all of their locations in Texas and across the country. The company said in a news release that this includes 4,000 of its locations nationwide in areas designated as Medically Underserved by the Health Resources and Services Location (HRSA).
Many of these underserved areas, which the HRSA defines as having too few primary care providers, high infant mortality, high poverty or a high elderly population, are located throughout South Texas and in every county of the Rio Grande Valley.
Several pharmacy locations along the border confirmed that existing vaccines currently in stock are mostly reserved for appointments only. As of Tuesday, May 4, Walmart Pharmacy locations in McAllen, Donna, and Brownsville had no more than two vaccines on hand allocated for walk-in patients.
Deliveries of vaccine doses at most of these pharmacies are made daily, and they are regularly adjusted in response to demand.
RGV COVID-19 LIVE BLOG: 280,000 Extra Doses Available In Texas This Week
Published May 3, 2021
Texas DSHS could not provide an exact number of unused doses at vaccination clinics throughout South Texas on a press call last week. But as local providers have responded to dropping demand by ordering less vaccines, there is now a measurable backlog of unordered doses.
The agency has ordered for the state all available vaccines, regardless of fluctuations in demand. It will store the doses at its Pharmacy Branch operation. This week, 280,000 extra doses are available for providers in Texas through the DSHS Vaccine Allocation and Ordering System (VAOS).
Variations in the amount of unordered doses may reflect not only a change in demand, but also a shift in how the vaccine is distributed and administered.
“While there are still many Texans willing to be vaccinated, that demand is shifting from large, mass vaccination sites to smaller, more convenient sites where Texans routinely receive medical care,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, DSHS Commissioner, in a letter to providers.
RGV COVID-19 LIVE BLOG: Delayed Care A Concern In The Rio Grande Valley
Published April 29, 2021
The Kaiser Family Foundation’s June 2020 Health Tracking Poll found that 51% of Americans had skipped or postponed any type of medical or dental care out of fear of COVID-19 infection. This trend in delayed care has continued into 2021 and is now a significant concern for Texas Public Health Region 11 and the Rio Grande Valley.
“One thing that we are worried about is some people who have put off their medical appointments”, said Emilie Prot, director for Public Health Region 11, in a press call earlier this week. “We want to make sure that people are continuing to maintain their regular appointments.”
Unidos Contra la Diabetes, a community partnership dedicated to preventing diabetes in the Rio Grande Valley, reports that obesity rates in the region are 26% higher than in the rest of Texas.
Dr. Melecia Fuentes, a board certified family medicine practitioner based in Hidalgo County, said patients with conditions such as diabetes that require vigilant ongoing care are most in danger.
“It’s not good for patients to put those visits off because it can create other issues,” said Dr. Fuentes. “They have diabetes and they’re postponing. We’ve seen that quite a bit. Then they come in and now their control is off the roof.”
Dr. Fuentes said that in addition to telemedicine, she is now also focusing on educating patients about delayed care as well as encouraging more preventative screenings in the local community to catch any conditions early.
RGV COVID-19 LIVE BLOG: During Mixed Demand For Vaccines, Region 11 Director Urges Vigilance
Published April 27, 2021
Public Health Region 11, which is made up of the 19 southernmost counties in Texas, is struggling to enact strategies towards two very different challenges.
“Some providers need vaccines. Some others are having difficulty using their doses,” said Emilie Prot, the regional medical director, on a press call this week. “Juggling those two tempos has been the majority of the work for the region and also other local health departments.”
The rise in dose requests is not entirely because of logistical shortages. Now that the COVID vaccine is available to much younger individuals, providers in South Texas, some of which distribute doses at schools, have asked for specific brands that are safer for teenagers.
That is why Region 11 has seen a higher demand for Pfizer from local providers, and that demand may continue to increase. The Pfizer vaccine is currently under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be used for patients 12 years and older in early May.
But as some county providers ask for more doses, local health officials in the Rio Grande Valley reported surpluses because demand in the region continues to drop.
Prot cautioned that while there are signs of positive change, the pandemic was not over yet.
“Covid is still among and spreading within our communities, and we have to remain vigilant.”