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HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas – Hidalgo County is now one of the nation’s hotspots for COVID-19, its county judge announced Wednesday.

Over the past three days, Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez has reported that 44 people have died from the coronavirus. On Monday he reported 16 deaths, on Tuesday 15 deaths, and on Wednesday 13 deaths.

Over those three days the judge reported that 715 more Hidalgo County residents have been tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of known positive cases to 6,060.

“My condolences go out to the family and friends that we have lost.” Judge Cortez said. “It pains me to announce that Hidalgo County is now considered one of the hot spots identified throughout the country for COVID-19. We are doing our best to combat this pandemic and protect public health but we can’t do any of that without the public’s help in following the recommended health guidelines. Help save lives, be responsible and get tested if you feel symptomatic.”

Cortez said there are currently 3,160 net active cases and 1,142 test results are pending. A total of 712 people are now in area hospitals with complications from the virus; 191 of those cases are being treated in intensive care units. Sixty people were released from isolation on Wednesday meaning that they have been symptom-free for ten days, including three days without a fever. 

On Tuesday, Cortez said: “We have reached a critical juncture in the battle against this disease. Our healthcare system is admirably battling to save lives as the number of serious cases needing hospitalization is presenting new challenges. Please join me in praying for not only our courageous health care workers, but for those family and friends of people who have died.”

Wednesday was the first day of mass testing at the Bert Ogden Arena. Testing ended two hours earlier than scheduled at 4 p.m. due to an overwhelming response, a Hidalgo County news release stated.

Individuals with scheduled appointments for today between the hours of 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. have been asked to return to the arena at their earliest convenience on Thursday or Friday with vouchers.

Moving forward testing will only be available during the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., county officials said, reminding all residents that pre-registration is required for on-site testing.  

Meanwhile, in Cameron County, health officials reported confirmation of an additional COVID-19-related death. The individual was a 74-year old male resident of Spanish Meadows in Brownsville and was a previously reported case. The number of COVID-19 related deaths in Cameron County has now reached 71. Cameron County has also received confirmation of an additional 123 case reports of COVID-19. 

This raises the total number of COVID-19 cases to 3,120 in Cameron County. There have also been an additional 105 individuals who have recovered, raising the total number of recovered individuals to 2,285.

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