EDINBURG, Texas – The number of positive COVID-19 cases in the Rio Grande Valley has been growing by over a 100 each day for the past few days. 

This has alarmed Valley leaders, particularly Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez.

“Today is going to be a very sad day for me,” Cortez said Tuesday evening. “We’re going to report that 143 people have tested positive — and two more deaths. That means that 17 of our citizens have passed away because of this disease. I extend my sincere condolences to the family members who lost their loved ones on this tragic day.”

Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez

On a day when 143 more people tested positive for COVID-19, two others died from complications of the virus, Cortez said. 

The deaths involved two women — one in her 40s and one in her 70s — from Mission, both who had underlying medical conditions.

The day before, Cortez announced three new deaths from COVID-19.

Hidalgo County health officials have now reported 1,255 positive cases of COVID-19. The previous single-day record for positive cases was set on June 11, when 70 residents tested positive. Out of the 143 positive cases on Tuesday, Cortez said, 121 were administered by the military on behalf of the state of Texas and reflects tests administered over three days.

“With all of this testing going on in the county, it is no surprise to us that we’re finding more and more people,” Judge Cortez said. And he urged local residents to continue wearing facial masks, to wash their hands regularly, and to adhere to social distance guidelines.

“Each one of you is a soldier in this war and have been equipped with the necessary tools and infrastructure to protect yourselves from this virus.  Continue to practice good hygiene, physical distancing and using face coverings.”

A total of 67 people in Hidalgo County have been hospitalized with complications from the virus, Cortez reported. Of these, eight are being treated in intensive care units. The judge said 53 people were released from isolation on Tuesday, meaning that they have been symptom-free for ten days, including three days without a fever. 

There are currently 657 net active cases and 954 test results are pending, health officials in Hidalgo County said.

Meanwhile, Cameron County’s public health department reported Tuesday that another person has died from COVID-19.

The individual was a 61-year old male from Brownsville and a previously reported case. This raises the number of COVID-19 related deaths in Cameron County to 45.

Cameron County has also received confirmation of an additional 58 case reports of COVID-19.

This raises the total number of COVID-19 cases to 1,236 in Cameron County. There have also been an additional 26 individuals who have recovered, raising the total number of recovered individuals to 807.

The increase in the cases of COVID-19 in the Valley reflects the state of Texas as a whole. More than 2,600 new cases were reported across the state on Tuesday. Hospitalizations rising rapidly also.

Editor’s Note: Click here to watch Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez’s Facebook LIVE event on June 16, 2020.

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