Hidalgo County confirmed more than 500 new positive cases and one death this weekend.
Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez announced the death of a Pharr woman in her 60s and 547 new positive cases in a news release Sunday.
“My prayers go out to the family and friends of this weekend’s victim — another tragic loss to this terrible disease,” Cortez said. “As we begin a new work week, please keep in mind the safety of yourselves and those around you. Stay home if possible, wear facial coverings and avoid other people.”
The new confirmations bring the county’s total number of reported cases to 5,345 — though only 3,452 remain active — and a total of 59 deaths.
The newly infected range in age from an infant to people in their 70s, and come from the cities of Alamo, Alton, Donna, Edinburg, Hidalgo, McAllen, Mercedes, Mission, Pharr, San Juan and Weslaco; The locations of 42 cases were undisclosed and one was classified as “OOA.”
As of Sunday evening, 571 individuals remained hospitalized due to complications from the virus, with 144 of them being treated in intensive care units.
Additionally, the county reported 235 individuals were released from isolation — meaning they have been symptom free for 10 days, including three days without a fever — raising the total number of individuals released from isolation to 1,834.
As of Sunday, the county had conducted 52,422 COVID-19 tests, with 44,628 returning negative and 2,449 pending test results.
On Sunday, Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa confirmed 628 health professionals had been deployed to South Texas last week, and announced additional help was on the way.
The deployment came after county judges and hospital administrators asked the state for additional staff to keep up with a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
BCFS, a non-profit organization that specializes in public health and partners with the state for medical response, sent the additional staff to hospitals and medical centers across the Rio Grande Valley last week, Hinojosa said in a news release Sunday.
By June 29, the state had deployed 112 staff to Edinburg and 46 staff to McAllen — all while comminiting to deploy more during the week, Hinojosa indicated.
“I appreciate the requests and tireless efforts from our South Texas county judges and hospital administrators to respond to the increase in the number of hospitalizations due to complications from COVID-19,” he said in the release. “We are thankful to Governor Greg Abbott and our state agencies for quickly acting on our requests and providing relief to our region.”
According to the news release, the following hospitals in Cameron County received additional staff members: Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen received 56, Valley Baptist Medical Center in Brownsville received 32, Harlingen Medical Center received 22 and Harlingen Regional Medical Center received 28.
In Hidalgo County, Edinburg Regional Medical Center received 55, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg received 354, Rio Grande Regional Hospital received 46, McAllen Heart hospital received eight and Starr County Memorial received 27.
“To carry out our mission to successfully provide the health care needs for COVID-19, it requires everyone at all levels of government working together,” Hinojosa said. “We are all in this together, and we can only succeed through collective action where everyone is working toward solving this crisis as one community.”
There are still requests for aid pending. Hidalgo and Cameron counties requested ambulance strike teams and hospitals need ventilators. Ten were expected to arrive at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance on Sunday night, and another ventilator deployment will reach the region Monday, Hinojosa indicated. Mission Regional Medical Center and South Texas Health Systems are requesting three ventilators each.
An additional nurse will be deployed to Starr County, and 32 staff members will be sent to Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco. Hinojosa also announced a surge of epidemiologists for the region.