Our hospitals in the Rio Grande Valley are at critical capacity and are struggling to take care of patients. 

I strongly urge Governor Abbott to take immediate steps to provide Valley hospitals additional resources and medical personnel to address the severe strain that the alarming surge of COVID-19 patients has caused to our local health care system. 

For weeks, we have been requesting Texas to strengthen its response and to help our medically underserved region. As I discussed on July 1 with the CEOs of our Valley Hospitals, the time for Texas to act is now! With the best interest of my constituents, I reiterate my call to Governor Abbott to provide greater resources to the Rio Grande Valley. 

The devastating coronavirus outbreak has resulted in more than a 500 percent increase in hospitalizations in our local hospitals and has caused the demand for intensive care units to exceed the available supply, which is why the Valley desperately needs priority assistance from Texas. Be it from the state’s allocation of Federal CARES Act funding, unexpended General Revenue, or Rainy Day Fund monies, our Valley Hospitals need Governor Abbott to send them critical funds to address their lack of resources and capacity.

Regrettably, we do not have the tax base or resources to address the soaring COVID-19 outbreak and we cannot finance locally the creation of isolated environments to expand our capacity or to retrofit, renovate, or build facilities to keep up with the surging coronavirus. 

The rising tide of COVID-19 patients has strained our public health system so much that we are in need of greater health care personnel. That is why I call on the Governor to make increased levels of medical professionals (doctors, nurses, and support health staff), be it from Texas National Guard forces or from regions of the state, available to our Valley hospitals, which are in dire need of their help. Along with greater amounts of medical supplies and personal protective equipment, I urge Governor Abbott to send additional resources from the state’s strategic reserve supply and inventory to our Valley hospitals.

Governor Abbott, we need your help, and, respectfully, the time to act is now.”

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by state Sen. Eddie Lucio of Brownsville, Texas. It appears in The Rio Grande Guardian with the permission of the author. The guest column was based on remarks Sen. Lucio made at a July 1 meeting with the CEOs of hospitals in the Rio Grande Valley hosted by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. Sen. Lucio can be reached via [email protected]

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