HARLINGEN, Texas – Cameron County now has over 100 positive cases of the COVID-19 strain of coronavirus, due in part to an outbreak of the disease at two Harlingen nursing homes.

According to Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr., 11 staff members and 11 residents at Veranda Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Harlingen have COVID-19. One resident there, an 81-year-old man, has died of coronavirus. At a news conference Monday afternoon, Trevino said 87 county residents had tested positive for the virus.

Late Monday, Cameron County Public Health received confirmation of 14 additional cases of COVID-19. Five of these cases were reported from Windsor Atrium, a nursing home in Harlingen. These five cases consist of three residents and two employees. 

On Sunday evening, Harlingen health officials warned nursing homes in the city not move residents and staff from one rehabilitation facility to another,

The addition of the 14 new cases to the 71 referenced by Judge Treviño in his news conference means 101 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Cameron County. Of these, 20 individuals have been cleared.

“Our first COVID-19 death of Cameron County was an 81-year old male who was residing at the Veranda nursing home,” Treviño said at his news conference. “He had been hospitalized at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen. Unfortunately he is the second COVID-19 related death in the Rio Grande Valley.”

The first was a 60-year-old male from Willacy County.

“We continue to investigate the (Veranda) nursing home,” Treviño said. “Eleven employees and 11 residents were tested positive, ten employees and ten residents, were negative, with 39 pending results.”

Treviño noted that the City of Harlingen has issued an order restoring movement of staff and residents between local nursing homes. Trevino said he is looking to draft an order to “address those issues.” He said the order could be ready later in the day, “We are looking at what Harlingen and others have done.”

Here are details about the 14 new cases in Cameron County:

Residence Gender Age Transmission
Brownsville Male 33 Link to Previous Case
Brownsville Female 37 Link to Previous Case
Brownsville Female 45 Travel
Brownsville Male 64 Community
Harlingen Female 40 Community
Harlingen Male 55 Link to Previous Case
Harlingen Female 71 Link to Previous Case
Harlingen Female 86 Link to Previous Case
Harlingen Female 94 Link to Previous Case
Los Fresnos Female 18 Community
Los Fresnos Female 55 Link to Previous Case
San Benito Female 47 Link to Previous Case
Santa Rosa Female 45 Link to Previous Case
Santa Rosa Female 49 Link to Previous Case

The 14 new cases means that the breakdown by city now reads:

Brownsville: 42

Harlingen: 37

San Benito: 7

Santa Rosa: 5

Rancho Viejo: 3

Los Fresnos: 2

Rio Hondo: 2

Laguna Vista: 1 

Port Isabel: 1

La Feria: 1

Cameron County Public Health is conducting epidemiological investigations for each positive COVID-19 case.

“Cameron County recommends that the public abide by the Shelter In Place Order issued by Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr and continue practicing preventative measures,” a news release by Cameron County stated.

“For information on coronavirus, please contact the Cameron County Coronavirus Hotline at (956) 247-3650, Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or refer to the Cameron County Public Health website for more information and updates at http://www.cameroncounty.us/publichealth/index.php/coronavirus/.”

Meanwhile, Treviño has issued a new order related to his shelter in place order.

He announced he was extending Shelter in Place for another two weeks, until Tuesday, April 21, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. 

“I appreciate everyone who is abiding by the order and understanding the reasoning for it. These are such difficult times in which we must sacrifice a little today, but for a greater tomorrow for all” Treviño stated. “The order in place is to protect us all and if we continue to abide by it, we can “flatten the curve” as we’ve done so until today. Please, be mindful that COVID-19 abides by no race, gender, color of skin or your last name. Let’s do everything we can to prevent a loved one from being a victim of this pandemic. We’re in this together.”

Treviño said he was also recommending  people use a mask, handkerchief, cloth, or piece of clothing to cover their nose and mouth when out in public.

And to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to the youth, Treviño said children under the age of 14 shall not enter large gathering areas such as grocery stores, convenience stores, and any public outing.  

“My top priority is the safety and well-being of all the people of Cameron County and taking these precautionary measures should help in this endeavor” Treviño said.

Hidalgo County

Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez

Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez said Monday that 14 more residents of the county have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases to 113.

Cortez pointed out that as the virus continues to spread, more people are also being hospitalized. On Monday, a total of 14 people were in the hospital being treated for symptoms of the disease. Of those, four were in the intensive care unit.

“We are seeing the number of cases double every four days or so,” Cortez said. “This is in line with what we have expected and I can’t emphasize enough that the safest place for everyone is in their homes.”

Judge Cortez reminded residents that it has only been 16 days since the first person in Hidalgo County tested positive for the infectious virus. Since then, he said, 62 of the positive cases have been female; 51 have been male. 

The age breakdown has been as follows:

24 6
32 5
69 4
51 4
50 4
48 4
47 4
29 4
25 4
52 3
43 3
38 3
33 3
27 3
26 3
19 3
60 2
44 2
42 2
39 2
36 2
35 2
34 2
31 2
30 2
28 2
21 2
4 2
1 2
8 months 1
10 months 1
82 1
77 1
76 1
71 1
70 1
66 1
64 1
62 1
61 1
59 1
58 1
56 1
54 1
49 1
46 1
45 1
41 1
40 1
37 1
23 1
22 1
16 1
15 1
14 1
11 1

Grand Total 113

And the distribution of positive cases by city have been as follows:

McAllen 26
Pharr 21
Mission 12
Mercedes 10
Edinburg 9
Weslaco 8
Donna 8
San Juan 6
Alamo 5
Undisclosed 4
Hidalgo 3
La Joya 1
Grand Total 113

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr. (Photo credit: Ron Whitlock/Ron Whitlock Reports)