Record 64 virus deaths in Hidalgo County

Toll reflects delayed reporting; cases exceed 16,000 locally

Hidalgo County broke another grim record Tuesday.

The county reported a single-day record of 64 deaths due to complications related to COVID-19, bringing the total to 531.

This also comes the same day county officials disputed a fatality reporting discrepancy with state health officials, whose totals for Hidalgo County are hundreds fewer than those reported daily by the county itself.

The county also announced an additional 339 cases of the virus, raising the total number of known positive cases to 16,088.

According to a news release, Tuesday’s high death toll reflects the delayed reporting of data from Sunday and Monday due to Hurricane Hanna.

“I am saddened by the passing of our Hidalgo County residents. My prayers and thoughts go out to their families,” county Judge Richard F. Cortez said in the release. “I continue to ask for you to take the necessary precautions for the safety of yourself and your loved ones.”

The death toll on June 28 was at 32. That number has since increased by 1,559%. On that same day, the number of confirmed cases in the county was 3,294. That number has increased by 388%.

Edinburg continues to have the highest number of coronavirus cases in the county with 2,824 total cases, or 17.6% of the total cases in the county. Mission has the second highest number of cases with 2,458 total cases, or 15.3%.

There are currently 7,450 net active cases, and 373 people were released from isolation on Tuesday after having been symptom-free for 10 days, including three days without a fever.

There are 883 individuals in hospitals with the coronavirus, of which 228 are in intensive care units.

The county has conducted a total of 105,396 tests for COVID-19, and 88,631 have come back negative.

In a separate news release, the county addressed discrepancies regarding the number of COVID-19 related deaths reported and those reported by Texas Department of State Health Services.

According to the release, DSHS, which has reported 254 COVID-19 related deaths in the county, is basing their number on death certificates received from the Vital Statistics department.

“However, due to normal procedures and unique circumstances faced during this pandemic, delays in the issuance of death certificates by the Vital Statistics department may exist which is causing the difference in reporting of numbers by the state and county,” the release read.

The county gets its death notices directly through medical records sent by the hospital and health care providers to the county.

“Health officials review the information to verify that the resident died due to COVID-19 and assess if contributing factors, such as cardiovascular disease, morbid obesity, diabetes and pulmonary failure, may also be associated with the death,” the release read. “Residents who die from unrelated causes, such as a car accident, but were COVID-19 positive at the time of the event are not counted towards the county’s death totals. Residents from other counties who die in Hidalgo County hospitals are not counted in Hidalgo County deaths. They are counted in their respective county.”

Cameron County also announced nine additional COVID-19 related deaths on Tuesday, raising the total there to 192.

The individuals included three men ages 67, 76 and 78 from Brownsville, two women ages 78 and 87 and two men ages 50 and 66 from Harlingen, and a 39-year-old woman and a 52-year-old man from San Benito.

The county also confirmed an additional 576 cases of COVID-19, raising that total to 8,777.

There have also been an additional 49 individuals who have recovered from the coronavirus, raising the total number of recovered individuals to 3,319.

Starr County reported 46 additional cases of COVID-19, raising the total number of confirmed cases there to 1,913.

There have been 545 individuals who have recovered from the coronavirus. Currently there are 1,346 individuals recovering in hospitals.

Also, there have been 22 deaths in the county.

Willacy County announced two more cases of COVID-19, raising the total there to 572.

The two cases include two women in their 40s.