BROWNSVILLE, Texas – The unofficial count of positive cases for COVID-19 along the Texas-Mexico border is now above 100.
Of these, 31 are in El Paso County, 27 are in Hidalgo County, 22 are in Webb County, 13 are in Cameron County, four are in Val Verde County, three are in Starr County, one is in Maverick County and one is in Willacy County.
The one in Willacy County is a four-year old. Of the three cases in Starr County, one was diagnosed as positive after returning from a trip outside of the Valley.
The biggest spike reported on Saturday was in Hidalgo County, where County Judge Richard Cortez announced nine new cases.
“The bad news is that more people are showing infection as more people are getting tested,” Judge Cortez said. “The good news is that there are only two people in Hidalgo County who have tested positive and are requiring hospital treatment. The rest are recuperating at their homes and are expected to recover.”
Cortez said of the 27 cases in his county, 25 are isolated in their homes with the other two receiving care in hospital.
Of the nine new cases reported on Saturday, one is a 62 year-old male from McAllen, one is a 38-year-old female from Mercedes, one is a 50 year-old female from McAllen, one is a 15 year-old male from San Juan, one is a 24 year-old female from Pharr, one is a 43 year-old male from McAllen, one is a 48 year-old female from Mission, one is a 25 year-old female from Weslaco, and one is a 42-year-old male from Pharr.
Cortez expressed concern that the streets of Hidalgo County continued to have foot and vehicular traffic on the first weekend day ager he ordered all residents to shelter at home.
“We are in a war now,” he said. “Each one of us is a soldier and we have the weapon to fight this. Stay home and follow good hygiene.”
Friday also saw a spike in Hidalgo County, with seven new cases confirmed, all of them from McAllen.
El Paso County reported five new positive cases on Friday.
Eagle Pass City Manager George Antuna said Maverick County has only one positive case of COVID-19, not three as previously reported.
“We have one case. We have other tests out but for now one positive. The patient is currently in quarantine,” Antuna told the Rio Grande Guardian.
“Eagle Pass and Maverick County officials are doing all we can to prevent further spread of COVID-19, and our EOC is taking vigorous steps as well. Our council has passed emergency disaster declarations as well to make sure residents and businesses alike comply.”
EOC stands for emergency operations center.
In Laredo, health officials are dismissing media reports that one local resident has died from the disease.
Dr. Victor Treviño, of the Laredo Health Department, urged local residents to exercise social distancing and practice good hygiene.
“These measures are absolutely necessary for us to beat this virus. I am pretty sure we will be able to beat the virus but only with those measures,” Treviño said.
“If we don’t comply we will suffer the consequences like other cities, where, at the beginning, things were taken loosely and maybe the efforts were not done immediately. We do not want to be there. We want to have these measures followed and the only way we can achieve that is for the public to comply and cooperate and be informed.”
U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela
U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela of Brownsville also urged residents to listen to healthcare experts.
“It is very important to be honest with ourselves about this pandemic. I think it is really important to pay attention to our public health experts,” Vela said, praising the work of Dr. Antony S. Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“If we take severe and restrictive measures like many of our national and local leaders are suggesting, and exercise social distancing we are in a lot better place a lot sooner,” Vela said, pointing to a map on the New York Times that looks at different models to project the virus.
Vela said if people listen to healthcare experts and practice social distancing, there could be virtually no infections in South Texas. The NYT map showed that under this model the estimated infection rate would be less than five percent.
Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story features Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez.