Rio Grande Valley virus death toll tops 1,000

The Rio Grande Valley has surpassed a grim milestone after exceeding 1,000 deaths due to COVID-19 on Tuesday evening. The Valley’s virus death toll is now at 1,073. This comes after Hidalgo County suffered 45 additional COVID-19 related deaths Tuesday, raising the toll there to 727. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

A city in shock: Sullivan City commissioner’s death in hail of gunfire with police...

Sullivan City is reeling from the death of one of their commissioners who was killed during a five-hour standoff with Mission police that began Thursday night. Gabriel Salinas, 39, barricaded himself in his Mission home after exchanging gunfire with Mission police officers and a deputy from the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, Mission Police Chief Robert Dominguez said during a news conference Friday. Following the news of his death, Sullivan City canceled a city commissioners meeting scheduled for Friday evening. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

McAllen Convention Center to serve as COVID-19 care facility, governor says

Gov. Greg Abbott pledged more state support for recovery efforts in the Rio Grande Valley related to Hurricane Hanna and in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic after touring the area and meeting with local leaders in the Mid-Valley on Tuesday. Abbott said he viewed hurricane damage in the Valley in the air and on the ground, commenting on agricultural damage, property damage and ongoing power outages. He said he issued a waiver on certain regulations related to commercial trucking in the state meant to address those power outages Tuesday afternoon. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Community weeps for slain McAllen policemen at public viewing

Two coffins. Two American flags. One community stunned and heartbroken by the immense loss of two local police officers. The tears shed at the McAllen Convention Center on Wednesday for fallen McAllen police officers Edelmiro Garza Jr. and Ismael Chavez Jr., who were shot and killed responding to a domestic disturbance Saturday, seemed to flow the entire day at the venue. One of the more emotional scenes at their public viewing Wednesday came when the Garza family greeted the arrival of Edelmiro’s flag-draped casket that morning. His 6-year-old daughter, Brianna, pointed toward her daddy as his casket was removed from the hearse. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Roma school district suspends meals program after employees test positive for COVID-19

The Roma Independent School District is suspending its summer meals program after two cafeteria employees tested positive for COVID-19. The district stated on social media that the two employees are from two different district cafeteria teams. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Starr County to issue shelter-in-place order by end of week

Starr County Judge Eloy Vera announced he would issue a shelter-in-place order by the end of the week, similar to what Hidalgo County did on Monday. During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Vera acknowledged that county officials could not legally require residents to stay home but pleaded with the community to do so to help control the rising number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. "I do want people to understand, our community to understand, that our backs are to the wall," Vera said. "We can only do so much. If the people in our community, the citizens of this community, don't help us get a handle on this thing, we're going to lose it and, in fact, we're very close to losing the situation." Read the full story at themonitor.com

CBP confirms firings, suspensions over Facebook posts

After a more than year-long investigation into derogatory social media posts from some of its personnel, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials fired four, and suspended more than 35 officers as a result. "U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) addresses misconduct that violates our Standards of Conduct and is contrary to our core values of vigilance, service to country, and integrity,” the official statement from CBP confirming the firings and suspension states. “(Four) employees were removed from service, 38 employees were suspended without pay, and the remaining were disciplined with reprimands or counseling.” Read the full story at themonitor.com

Canales: Claims of ‘egregious’ conditions at local hospital still unproven

Claims of impropriety regarding COVID-19 patients at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg have prompted a local lawmaker to look deeper into the matter, finding the hospital has denied the claims and is pledging to prove it. The claims stem from a Twitter thread that includes screenshots of text messages from individuals claiming to work at the hospital and photos purportedly taken inside, including photos of individuals that appear to be patients. The Tweet was circulated widely, reaching tens of thousands of people. Read the full story at themonitor.com

DHS: Restricted travel to continue through end of August

Non-essential travel will continue to remain partially restricted at ports of entry at Canadian and Mexican borders, according to the Department of Homeland Security. In a tweet Sunday, DHS announced the continuation of the temporary travel restrictions for Canada and Mexico. The announcement, not surprising as the order has been extended four times since March, came after President Trump put the restriction in place due to COVID-19. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Higher pay lures local nurses to staffing agencies

State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa is investigating whether local nurses are parting ways with hospitals to work for the state’s staffing agencies that are responding to a COVID-19 surge in the area, paying its nurses almost four times higher wages. The Texas Department of State Health Services partnered with staffing agencies earlier this year to deploy more than 620 additional medical personnel to the Rio Grande Valley to assist hospitals struggling with staffing shortages. Hinojosa, however, told The Monitor on Friday he believes some of those nurses could be the same from the area who were already employed locally and parted ways with their employer, either voluntarily or otherwise. Read the full story at themonitor.com