Hidalgo Co. officials mum on hotels, governor’s visit

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks about the categories of medical surge facilities and Level 5 of maintaining staffed beds during a press conference at Texas Department of Public Safety, Tuesday, June 16, 2020, in Austin, Texas. Abbott insisted Tuesday that Texas' health care system can handle the record-high number of new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in the state as it aggressively pushes to reopen its economy. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Hidalgo County leaders announced Sunday that hotels would begin taking convalescent patients Friday, but whether those plans are on track remains to be seen.

On Sunday, Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez and state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa said via a virtual news conference that plans to house patients in “one or two” local hotels were moving forward, and they expected the facilities to be in place by Friday.

Both asked for patience and noted the massive effort had to be carried out in a proper fashion.

On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott held a virtual meeting with Hidalgo County officials, hospital administrators and others, where he “agreed to support Hidalgo County’s efforts to contract with a hotel to provide more beds for recovering COVID-19 patients,” a news release from the governor’s office stated Tuesday.

It’s unclear, however, what that support entails. Abbott’s news release did not go into further detail.

The governor’s virtual meeting followed news that he dissuaded a humanitarian organization from setting up a field hospital in McAllen last week, citing weather-related conditions and a plan to send additional resources to the area.

On Tuesday, the county reported its highest death toll yet — 49 deaths in a single day — and another 33 on Wednesday. And on Thursday, 33 were reported.

Cortez, Hinojosa and Melendez did not respond to requests for comment as of press time Thursday.