Michael Rodriguez

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Michael Rodriguez is the deputy editor for The Monitor. He can be reached at mrodriguez@themonitor.com or at (956) 683-4439.

Nurses bussed in, but health officials express urgency for additional staff

More space. More manpower. More relief. More diligence. These were the pleas that leaders of some of the Rio Grande Valley’s largest hospital systems made during a COVID-19 healthcare forum on Wednesday morning, continuing a chorus of concerns from local officials who are growing more alarmed at the climbing rate of cases and hospitalizations in the region. The event, which was hosted by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, came a day after cases and deaths jumped by 650 and 11, respectively, in the Valley — two distressing records since the first case was reported in March. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Minority experience in South Texas comes into focus

Joshua Gatling fell asleep one day during his seventh grade science class. He woke to find that his classmates had put pins in his...

109 new coronavirus cases confirmed in Hidalgo Co.; death toll rises to 21

Hidalgo County reported another death Friday as an additional 109 individuals tested positive for COVID-19. A Pharr man in his 80s is the latest individual to die in Hidalgo County after testing positive for COVID-19, according to a news release issued Friday, raising the total number of fatalities in the county to 21. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Weslaco police apprehend murder suspect in shooting case

A man Weslaco police say is a suspect in a murder investigation was arrested Monday following a shooting that left one person dead and put a local school on lockdown. Although police have not yet confirmed the identity of the person arrested, they did identify Angel Herrera, 23, earlier Monday as the suspect in the case. The arrest came after a manhunt for Herrera, who was considered armed and dangerous, lasted for several hours. According to officer Eric Hernandez, spokesman for the Weslaco Police Department, officers initially responded to a call reporting shots fired in the vicinity of the 2400 block of 12th Street and Pleasantview Drive at around 12:06 p.m. Monday. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Report shines light into deadly day in Edinburg

Aaron Cortez made the right decision. When the registered nurse and Army reservist noticed that 19-year-old Rebecca Lee Cantu's toddler looked a lot like her stepfather, 58-year-old Saul Ramon Avila, he began asking questions. Rebecca resisted at first, but eventually the young woman confided in the 30-year-old: Avila had been sexually abusing her since she was 14. Not only did her mother, 48-year-old Magdalena Cantu, know about it, Rebecca told Aaron, she was complicit in the abuse. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Valley’s COVID-19 rate of increase notably lower than state’s

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is increasing rapidly in Texas; as much is clear. But in the Rio Grande Valley, the rate of new cases reported daily is notably lower among its four counties than across the state, and according to the Department of State Health Services, the region’s pandemic response has a lot to do with it. From April 10 to May 15 the total number of cases in the Valley increased by 237% compared to a statewide increase of 287% during that same time period. Looking at a smaller time period, from April 13, the day after Easter, until Mother’s Day on May 10, the total number of cases in the Valley increased by 133%. Read the full story at themonitor.com

20 more cases, another nursing home resident death reported

Cameron County reported Monday that a 78-year-old resident of Windsor Atrium in Harlingen with COVID-19 had died, bringing the total of coronavirus-related deaths there...

Previously infected with COVID-19, doctors donate plasma to patients

Dr. Luis Reyes never thought he would fall ill to COVID-19, that is until he received the news in March that he had tested...

Cortez supports governor’s plan to re-open state

Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez said Friday that he supports Gov. Greg Abbott’s new executive orders beginning the slow process of reopening the state, and plans to work toward the same goal locally in the coming weeks, albeit cautiously. Abbott introduced the three new executive orders Friday, allowing retailers to offer curbside pickup, resuming elective surgeries and reopening state parks. State parks can reopen as soon as Monday, however the executive order regarding retailers goes into effect April 24. Cortez believes this is a step in the right direction. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Construction magnate, attorney selected for Abbott’s council to reopen state

Alonzo Cantu of McAllen has been appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott to a special advisory council tasked with helping businesses strategically reopen while containing the spread of COVID-19. The appointment, which tasks Cantu and fellow council members to share innovative ideas to assist reopening efforts, comes after Abbott issued three executive orders Friday to begin the process of reopening the state of Texas. Cantu is CEO and president of Cantu Construction and Development Company, as well as the chairman of Lone Star National Bank and a board member of Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg. Read the full story at themonitor.com