EDINBURG — Hidalgo County has issued a seven-day disaster declaration beginning Tuesday morning as the county braces for the “inevitable” positive COVID-19 case.

Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez said during a news conference Monday that there are currently no confirmed cases in the county but anticipated that changing at some point, and that at least 15 people have been tested locally.

“This has not been an easy decision,” Cortez said about the declaration. “I recognize the hardship this declaration will have…it’s for the greater good of the county.”

Cortez continued to advise residents to avoid gatherings of 50 people or more.

Several events locally have canceled or postponed in response to those recommendations.

With the declaration explicitly prohibiting gatherings in the county of 50 people or more, the events that have continued to run — such as the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show, which annually attracts more than 200,000 people to the show grounds in Mercedes — may be forced to close.