COVID-19 deaths climb by 92 in RGV, about 240 new cases confirmed

MGN Online

Throughout the Rio Grande Valley, the death toll from COVID-19 climbed by 92 on Friday and officials confirmed approximately 249 more cases of the disease.

Hidalgo County reported 22 more COVID-19 related deaths and 208 new confirmed cases of the disease on Friday.

In announcing the new cases, Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez acknowledged the infections of President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump.

“I pray for the rapid recovery of our President and First Lady and all of those infected in Hidalgo County,” Cortez said. “I send my deepest prayers to the family members who have lost a loved one due to this terrible virus.”

Also in Hidalgo County, one youth at the Evins Regional Juvenile Center in Edinburg tested positive for COVID-19, according to a news release from the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.

So far, 32 youths from that center and 56 staff members have tested positive.

The total number of deaths in Hidalgo County is now at 1,740 and the total number of confirmed cases has reached 32,406. Of those, 2,295 cases are considered active.

Within the hospitals in Hidalgo County, there are currently 171 patients receiving treatment for the disease and 61 of those patients are in an intensive care unit.

Cameron County saw a big jump in their total number of COVID fatalities, reporting an additional 70 people died due to complications from the disease, which pushed the death toll there past 1,000.

The additional cases were previously unreported and were confirmed after the county’s health department was able to access vital statistics from the Department of State Health Services, according to a news release issued Friday.

With the data, county officials were able to complete an analysis to identify deaths not previously reported. The 70 cases raise the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the county to 1,023. 

“While this is a large number of reports, the public should know that they go as far back as April 2020 to present day and the majority of the cases are Cameron County residents who passed away outside of the county,” Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino, Jr. said. “My deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the families and friends on the loss of their loved one.”

Officials noted deaths are reported based on an individual’s residence, regardless of where the death occurred.

Additionally, they pointed out that their statistics differ from what DSHS is reporting for the county.

As of Friday afternoon, DSHS reported the county had a total of 921 deaths, or 102 less than what the county has confirmed.

Health officials noted the county receives death report data from the vital statistics offices in Harlingen and Brownsville, from local hospitals, and now state vital statistics.

“We expect that there will be a slight discrepancy between what we report and what the state reports,” said Esmeralda Guajardo, county health administrator. “This is due in large part to the state generally only reporting deaths listed within one section of a death certificate and our department reporting all deaths which have been reported, investigated and identified as COVID-related on death certificates by the local municipality vital statistics offices or hospitals, which is a standard practice for public health departments.”

On Friday, the county also reported 29 more cases of COVID-19 for a total of 22,946. Of those, 2,644 are currently active.

In neighboring Willacy County, three residents tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases there to 1,182.

The new cases include a man between 60 and 69 years old, and a man and a woman between 70 and 79 years old.

Reflecting numbers from Thursday, Starr County reported four new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 480 active cases. The county also reported 169 of their residents have died due to complications from the disease.