iluna@valleytowncrier.com

HIDALGO/EDINBURG – In an update briefing with Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez on Tuesday, April 14, he shares that the county, which is the eighth largest county in the state of Texas, “has the lowest infection rate per 100,000 people” of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Out of all the Texas counties that are at least a population of 300,000 or more people, Hidalgo County is No. 1 in having the least amount of positive tests every 100,000 people,” Cortez said.

As of Monday, April 20, Hidalgo County has the following numbers in positive COVID-19 cases, COVID-19 Deaths, COVID-19 Hospitalized Patients, COVID-19 ICU Patients and COVID-19 Released Patients.

Positive COVID-19 Cases: 261 COVID-19 Deaths: 3 (all who had underlying medical conditions) COVID-19 Hospitalized Patients: 27 COVID-19 ICU Patients: 6 COVID-19 Released from Home Isolation Patients: 45 (meaning they have shown no symptoms for ten days including the last three days without fever.) With the information the county is receiving on an hourly basis, Judge Cortez said we still haven’t seen “the peak point” and said that it could be as early as “late April or the third week of May” to be specific.

“Residents traveled North and South during the Easter Holiday including oil field workers who [came back] from being furloughed or laid off, so these next seven to nine days is going to be very important and tell us more or less where we are with this infectious rate.”

Cortez expects the number of positive cases of COVID-19, COVID-19 deaths and COVID-19 hospitalized patients to increase as there is no “clear cure” or “treatment” for the virus.

“Medical communities are now trying to investigate in urgent ways to try to test for an IgG, (Immunoglobulin G) [the most abundant type of antibody, is found in all body fluids and protects against bacterial and viral infections] anti-body to fight this disease,” he said.

In the briefing, Cortez mentions that he’s been receiving concerns from residents on when public schools will reopen and food services for students and the elderly.

He said the “TEA (Texas Education Agency) is in charge of making those decisions and will be meeting with our area superintendents to talk about how we can partner together to make sure that our children are well taken care of.”

Editor’s Update: Under Texas Governor, Greg Abbott all public schools are to remain closed for the remainder of the school year.

For children and the elderly that require food service, “Hidalgo County is working very closely with the RGV Food Bank, schools and the C.S.A., Community-Supported Agriculture to make sure that the food supply continues for those most needed.”

Although the good news that the county’s infectious rate is low, Judge Cortez said: “this is not the time to relax our community controls and must continue to take action to slow or stop the spread of the virus.”

For updated information on COVID-19 in Hidalgo County visit the link: https://www.hidalgocounty.us/coronavirusupdates

To watch Tuesday’s April 14 Hidalgo County Briefing visit the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KesjJTW03s