At a Wednesday press conference, Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. said Monday’s issuance of a mandatory shelter-in-place order as a measure against the spread of COVID-19 has led to many inquiries from county residents about when traveling is permitted under the order.
“Most of the people that contacted us, we were able to direct them back to the order and they were able to determine whether or not their business or employment was essential,” he said. “But in spite of that, many good questions were raised and we wanted to try to come up with a way to address that.”
An amended order, addressing some instances that were overlooked and combining all previous COVID-19 orders into one, was to be submitted Wednesday afternoon and available on the county’s website, Trevino said. The list of exempted essential services and activities is quite long, so residents should go to the website to find out about their individual circumstances.
“It’s not any different technically than what we’ve got in place,” Trevino said. “But we’re just going to put all the orders in one document. The reason why is we want to make sure that it’s easier for the public to try to find what the order is saying, what constitutes essential services or essential activities.”
Anyone who still has questions after reading the amended order can email the county emergency operations center at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (956) 356-6607.
As of press time Wednesday, 10 cases of the novel coronavirus had been confirmed for Cameron County, including the test of a 40-year-old Rio Hondo man conducted by a private laboratory. The man, who is in self-quarantine, may be the county’s first case of community transmission, Trevino said.
“As the individual had not reported any recent travel outside Cameron County, nor any known exposure to another case, our public health department is continuing the investigation to identify if this is in fact the first case of community transmission, which is our initial finding,” he said.
The judge said Wednesday that seventy people are under self-quarantine, 20 have completed the 14-day waiting period without showing symptoms, and 50 are still being monitored, Trevino said. Statewide as of Wednesday’s press conference there were 974 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 12 deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 54,453 cases across the nation and 737 deaths.
The epidemiological investigations prompted by each new case basically involve retracing steps and discovering who else the infected individual may have come in contact with and monitoring those people for symptoms, Trevino said. There is no vaccine for COVID-19, a virus that is easily transmitted and potentially life-threatening, especially in older people or people with underlying conditions such as diabetes.
“This process can be time consuming, and so the public is asked to be patient as we work through this. In the meantime, as we’ve said many, many, many times before and continue to reiterate, everyone should be acting as if they themselves have tested positive for COVID-19,” he said.
The Cameron County Covid-19 Hotline is (956) 247-3650.