BROWNSVILLE, Texas – An additional 70 COVID-19 related death cases has taken the total number of coronavirus fatalities in Cameron County to more than a thousand.

Cameron County Public Health reported 70 COVID-19 related death cases on Friday. Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr., said many of the new cases only came to light after the county’s health department was given access to the Texas Department of State Health Services’ vital statistics data.

Previously, this data was not available to Cameron County Public Health. The 70 new cases raises the total number of COVID-19 deaths in Cameron County to 1,023.

“While this is a large number of reports, the public should know that they go as far back as April 2020 to present day and the majority of the cases are Cameron County residents who passed away outside of the county,” Treviño said.

“My deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the families and friends on the loss of their loved one.”

Esmeralda Guajardo, Cameron County’s health administrator, said that as the local health department in Cameron County, Cameron County Public Health follows Texas Department of State Health Services guidance and reports COVID-19 cases and deaths based on an individual’s residence.

As a result, she said, an individual who tests positive or dies due to COVID-19 in the county or elsewhere and is a resident of Cameron County will be reported by Cameron County Public Health.

“Being closely situated to another county which has several hospitals and residents seeking specialized treatment elsewhere, we tend to see this often in terms of communicable disease reporting,” Guajardo said.

“Having access to the death data that the state is reporting is allowing us to cross-reference data they receive from other counties with ours in an attempt to properly report all of the cases.”

As of Friday afternoon, the Texas Department of State Health Services was reporting 921 deaths in Cameron County. That is 102 lower than what the county is reporting. Guajardo said Cameron County Public Health receives not only death report data from the cities of Harlingen and Brownsville vital statistics offices and local hospitals, but now, also, vital statistics from the State of Texas.

“We expect that there will be a slight discrepancy between what we report and what the state reports,” Guajardo said.

“This is due in large part to the state generally only reporting deaths listed within one section of a death certificate and our department reporting all deaths which have been reported, investigated and identified as COVID-related on death certificates by the local municipality vital statistics offices or hospitals, which is a standard practice for public health departments.”

Guajardo said Cameron County Public Health will continue to investigate COVID-19 related deaths as they are being reported to the department and will provide updates accordingly in the Cameron County Daily COVID-19 Report.

For more information on COVID-19 in Cameron County, go to: https://www.cameroncounty.us/publichealth/index.php/coronavirus/ or call the Cameron County COVID-19 Helpline at (956) 247-3650.

Meanwhile, health officials in Hidalgo County reported 22 more deaths and 208 new positive cases,

On a day when the world noted the news that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19, health officials in Hidalgo County reported 22 more deaths and 208 new positive cases, Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez said Friday.

“I pray for the rapid recovery of our President and First Lady and all of those infected in Hidalgo County,” Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez said Friday. “I send my deepest prayers to the family members who have lost a loved one due to this terrible virus.”

Friday’s new numbers bring the total number of deaths in Hidalgo County from this disease to 1,740 and the total number of known positive cases to 32,406.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows Esmeralda Guajardo, Cameron County’s health administrator.


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