EDINBURG, TEXAS – Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez and Hidalgo County Health Authority Dr. Ivan Melendez recently appeared on a Facebook LIVE to discuss COVID-19 issues.

Cortez spoke about a recent surge in coronavirus cases in his county and new curfews he was putting in place in response. 

Melendez participated in a Q&A with Hidalgo County’s public affairs director, Carlos Sanchez, with a focus on the impact the COVID-19 is having on area hospitals. 

Dr. Ivan Melendez

Melendez, who does all of his clinical work in local hospitals, was asked about an increase in the number of tests coming back as positive for the coronavirus in Hidalgo County.

In Hidalgo County that rate is currently six percent and rising. This, he said, is cause for alarm.

“What worries me, at six percent is the rapidity, the quickness at which those numbers have increased. I do all of my clinical work in the hospitals. I am seeing the controlled chaos. I am seeing the impact that this accelerated rate is causing in the hospitals. I am seeing the staffing issues,” Melendez said.

Melendez cited the situation at one local hospital, which he did not mention by name.

“There are 50-plus COVID patients in-house. Twenty-three of them require hemodialysis. That hemodialysis on people with COVID, they have to be done at bedside. Well, of course, we also have a lot of people in our part of the country that go to the emergency departments to get emergency dialysis. Because that is their only source. They are not able to have a routine dialysis at a dialysis center.

“So, imagine if you are having 23 bedside dialysis and you still have to take care of another 40 or 50 people a week that need to have dialysis in the emergency department. That is an example that I would like the public to know how (about, how) even a doubling in our percent rate begins to tax significantly the resources that are available.”

Melendez said that, as of now, the resources at local hospitals are not being taxed to the point of saturation. 

“Now if we were doubling, if we are at six percent today and we were 12 percent in two weeks and we were at 24 percent in another two weeks, that would be a catastrophic event for us.”

Melendez said there are plans to deal with such an eventuality.

Here is a Podcast featuring the commentary of Judge Cortez and Dr. Melendez:

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