Rio Grande Valley | Texas Public Radio

Rio Grande Valley

The incident command center for the doctors hospital at renaissance in Edinburg. Hospital administrators coordinate logistics and track important data from the Edinburg Conference Center.
Dominic Anthony Walsh | Texas Public Radio

Though the census deadline has been extended to the end of October, certain areas in Texas remain undercounted — even compared to the national average.

The response rate for the 2020 census in the Rio Grande Valley is under 50% — compared to 62% nationally — and the area continues to struggle with an overwhelmed hospital system as COVID-19 cases surge in the area.


Dominic Anthony Walsh | TEXAS PUBLIC RADIO

Texas is in the midst of a COVID-19 surge, but one area is in crisis. Hospitals in the Rio Grande Valley are near or at capacity, and EMS crews are stretched thin.

Dr. Ivan Melendez takes us inside his office — an overwhelmed ICU in Hidalgo County, which has been designated as a “medically underserved area” by the Health Resources and Services Administration. This means it has too few primary care providers, high infant mortality, high poverty, high elderly population — or all of the above.

This also means that during the pandemic, it lacks doctors, nurses and specialists. It doesn’t have enough oxygen to send patients home early to free up hospital beds. It doesn’t have enough hospital beds. And there are no hospitals in Hidalgo County or in neighboring Cameron County.

How did the Valley get here? What is behind this region’s COVID-19 Surge? This episode of Petrie Dish explores the mix of factors, from resources and politics to the census.


Charles Pecce, 70, and wife Sharon Pecce, 76, clear debris after returning to their destroyed home in the aftermath of Hurricane Hanna in Port Mansfield, Texas, U.S., July 26, 2020.
Adrees Latif | REUTERS

A South Texas region exhausted by a months-long struggle with COVID-19, drought and economic distress now marshaled its resources to endure one more massive challenge: Hanna, the first Atlantic hurricane of 2020. The cyclone made two landfalls Saturday evening and spent the weekend tormenting the region with damaging winds, torrential rains and widespread flooding.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration on Saturday for 32 counties affected by Hanna, including Bexar County.

A volunteer for LUPE leaves a bag of food and cleaning supplies on the doorknob of her neighbor’s home who could not attend to the distribution herself.
Michael Treviño | Texas Public Radio

It’s just after midnight and Dr. Ivan Melendez still has several hours to go before he finishes his shift at a hospital in Hidalgo County. 

It’s been nonstop. 

Next up, he has to call the wife of a COVID-19 patient who just tried to take out his own ventilator.


The COVID-19 unit at the DHR Health Center in Edinburg on June 30, 2020.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. | The Texas Tribune

 

"Ten out of the 12 hospitals in Texas' Rio Grande Valley are now full" was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

Protesters hold signs at a protest in Edinburg in support of Black Lives Matter Movement.
Reynaldo Leaños Jr. | Texas Public Radio

Several hundred people braved the 94 Texas degree heat on Saturday  — the majority in face masks — to protest racism and police brutality.


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

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

Click here to read this blog in English.

Texas Public Radio está dando las últimas noticias sobre el COVID-19 en el Valle del Río Grande aquí. Puede encontrar las últimas noticias de TPR en San Antonio aquí. Otras estaciones de NPR que son parte de The Texas Newsroom también están publicando en vivo, incluyendo Houston Public MediaKERA en Dallas y KUT en Austin

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