In addition to surpassing the 3,000 mark of total positive cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, Hidalgo County also reported a Weslaco man in his 30s died from complications related to the virus, county Judge Richard F. Cortez said in a news release.
With 402 individuals reported over the weekend, the total number of cases for Hidalgo County rose to 3,294. The 402 cases are all previously reported positive, and the county’s death toll is now 32.
“I am very distraught with today’s rising numbers and, in particular, with the report of another death,” Judge Cortez said in the release. “My condolences go out to this man’s friends and family. Our rise in numbers has become a problem and I’ve taken action trying to slow infection rates by limiting mass and social gatherings, and by requiring facial coverings inside of covered spaces and buildings. Ultimately, however, we must protect ourselves.”
The new cases come from the cities of Alamo, Alton, Donna, Edinburg, Hidalgo, McAllen, Mercedes, Mission, Pharr, San Juan and Weslaco. The cities of 24 individuals were undisclosed and the cities of 23 cases are unknown.
The ages of the new cases range from an infant to people in their 80s. In addition to not divulging the ages of the new positive cases on Sunday, Hidalgo County has begun to not disclose the gender or ages of certain cases. In some cases, the gender of the individual is marked as “U.”
On Sunday, a total of 244 individuals were hospitalized with complications from the virus, with 19 of those cases being treated in intensive care units.
Over the weekend, 129 people were released from isolation; county officials say this means the individual has been symptom-free for 10 days, including three days without a fever.
Surpassing the 1,000 mark, the total number of individuals released from isolation is 1,072.
As of now, the county has administered 40,350 tests, with 34,227 test results returning negative and 2,829 pending results.
Of the total known cases, only 2,190 cases remain active.
In Starr County, 46 people were reported to have tested positive for COVID-19, county health authority Dr. Jose Vasquez said Sunday, raising the total number of cases there to 598.
Of the total, 471 remain active with the exception of 124 individuals who were reported to have recovered.
With two deaths pending, Starr County’s fatality toll remains at three.
Officials with the McAllen Independent School District also confirmed an employee tested positive for the coronavirus in a news release Sunday.
For caution, the district and the Hidalgo County Health Department have identified and contacted the employees from the district, who had minimal contact with the positive case, and recommended to self isolate for two weeks.
“Also out of an abundance of caution and for transparency,” the news release read, the district informed the public the positive individual has minimal possibility of contact at the outdoor, community feeding site, McAllen ISD Grab and Go. The site was open June 15-18 at 4119 N. 12th St.
According to the district’s release, the employee who tested positive was never in contact with employees or families. In addition to all personal protective equipment in place, the district emphasized all everyone was wearing masks and adhering to social distancing.
The district reiterated that employees who prepare and serve meals wear masks and shields, in addition to adhering to physical distancing of at least 6 feet.
According to the release, all the employees were checked for temperature at the start of all sessions. Officials said every test returned negative.
Also announced on Sunday, the state of Texas, in response to an emergency request from Cortez, will send nurses from other parts of the state to support the staffing of at least one hospital in the county.
“We have been monitoring our hospital capacity and have concluded that the medical workers who are working tirelessly in our community could use additional help,” Cortez said in a news release Sunday. “Therefore, late Friday I asked the Governor and the State’s Emergency Management Operation for help by providing additional medical personnel. This is welcome relief at a time when the number of people needing hospital care continues to rise.”
With details of the support still in conversation, the county will not name the hospital receiving the support yet, but according to the news release, all area hospitals are working together to secure support.
Currently, positive cases are being compiled and processed by Hidalgo County epidemiologists and will be reported later to show the results from over the weekend.
In addition to Sunday’s announcement, the Hidalgo County Office of Emergency Management issued a countywide alert via mobile devices, urging residents to stay home.
The alert read, “ATTENTION: The COVID-19 virus continues to spread across Hidalgo County. Please stay home. Protect yourself and others. If it is necessary to leave home, wear an appropriate facial covering and avoid gatherings with those outside your household. STAY HOME. STAY SAFE. STOP THE SPREAD. A message from the Hidalgo County Office of Emergency Management.”
Similar alerts have been issued in Cameron and Willacy counties.