Although the number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 keeps trending down, county and health officials warn that residents must remain vigilant to prevent the further spread of the virus.

During a weekly news conference call, the top health official for the Department of State Health Service’s Public Health Region 11 pointed out that hospitalizations in the region are still relatively high.

“Just yesterday in the state of New York, there were total hospitalizations of 482, and so we have more for our whole region than compared to the state of New York,” said Dr. Emilie Prot, regional medical director for Public Health Region 11.

Region 11, as designated by DSHS, encompasses not just the Rio Grande Valley, but a total of 19 counties in South Texas — from north of Corpus Christi to Laredo and down to Brownsville.

“I think (in) comparisons of population, we have a lot less (in) population than the state of New York and we’re still having higher hospitalizations,” she said.

In the Rio Grande Valley alone, COVID-19 hospitalizations were at 402 as of Sept. 11, down from the peak of 1,606 on July 22.

“Even though our numbers are going down, our hospitalizations are going down, we still have to remain very vigilant,” Prot said. “We still need to be very careful.”

Hidalgo County officials reported on Friday that 26 residents died from complications related to the coronavirus disease for a total of 1,381 COVID-19 deaths.

Additionally, there were 126 newly confirmed infections, according to a news release. That brings their total cases to 29,335 and, of those, 2,071 are active.

In their hospitals, there are currently 252 hospitalized due to COVID-19 and 90 of them are being treated in an intensive care unit.

Eleven more Cameron County residents died from COVID-19-related causes, the county announced Friday.

The deceased included individuals who ranged in age from 50 to 89 years old and their deaths brought the county’s total number of coronavirus fatalities to 821.

The county also reported another 40 individuals tested positive for the disease. Among those residents, more than 20 were under the age of 40 and two were under the age of 9.

County employees — one employee from the county clerk’s office, one employee from the district clerk’s office and one employee from the sheriff’s office — were also among the newly confirmed positive on Friday.

“Please continue to protect yourself, your family, and your loved ones and remain vigilant as the transmission of COVID-19 remains in our community,” Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño sated in a news release. “Heed the advice and mandates in place for the protection of life.”

These newly confirmed cases raises their total to 21,983 cases in the county, but only 3,545 of those are currently active, according to public health officials.

Willacy County reported one more positive case on Friday for a total of 1,148 positive cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

The individual is a woman between the age of 50 and 59.

Meanwhile, Starr County did not report any new cases on Friday, but according to DSHS, there are a total of 3,235 confirmed cases and a total of 145 COVID-19 related deaths there so far.