I hope everybody had been able to see that steady trend and decline in the daily number of cases in the county.

I hope that is from everything doing everything they can to try to avoid catching this virus.

Washing their hands, wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding crowds. We are seeing the fruits of that. We would really like to see these numbers in Cameron County drop as low as they possibly can.

At under 100 per day, that is a sign we are getting into the area where we can continue to control it. At less than 50 a day we are really on the path to being able to do those types of things like reopening schools with the expectation that we are going to be able to keep the virus under control with the measures we are all going to keep following. 

But, this Labor Day threatens that trend that we have. So, if we can get through this holiday with restraint, especially when it comes to these private family gatherings or gatherings of small groups, gatherings in homes, backyards, this virus spreads there too. We have all seen what it can do to families when we have the devastation in July, in terms of how this impacted our community in terms of deaths.

We cannot forget that. About five percent of the population has had COVID now. At least, and it is probably much, much higher than that. By no means does that mean we are all immune to this. But we need to keep vigilant. So, keep up the good work in terms of masks, social distancing, washing hands, and avoiding crowds. This Labor Day weekend, please, please, please don’t let your guard down. 

The hospitals are doing much better. But still there are 119 people hospitalized right now in Cameron County with COVID-19. People are still getting admitted to the hospitals with new infections that are making them sick enough to be hospitalized. There are still 57 people in intensive care throughout the county because of COVID-19. The hospitals are in a much better place to take care of people. We have better access to treatment now. The staff is available but still you do not want to be hospitalized with this illness. Just because the hospitals are in better shape does not mean we should be putting people in the hospitals with COVID-19. 

On the subject of vaccines, we are getting closer to that. There are a few companies in phase three trials. A phase three trial is where they have already shown that the vaccines are safe and now they are trying to see if they are effective; do they protect people. The CDC has already invited the states to start getting ready to start distributing these vaccines at some time in November. I think that is being optimistic but I would really hope for that also. But, the vaccines will only be approved once they are proven to be safe and effective. Hopefully that is before the end of the year and if not, into early next year. But, it is good news on that side.

Editor’s Note: The above commentary is based upon the remarks made by Dr. James Castillo, MD, health authority for Cameron County, at a news conference hosted by Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr., at Cameron County Courthouse on Friday, Sept. 4, 2020. Treviño said Cameron County has been averaging 125 new COVID-19 cases per day over the past ten days.

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