Rio Hondo ISD: Employee tested positive for COVID-19

RIO HONDO — The 40-year-old male from Rio Hondo who tested positive for COVID-19 was identified as an employee of the Rio Hondo school district, according to a press release issued Wednesday by the district.

The man remains in home isolation and is not reporting to the district, the release stated.

Due to safety concerns, the district has stopped its grab and go food services program until further notice.

“Although we cannot disclose confidential information related to employees, we can confirm that we were informed by the Cameron County Public Health Department on March 24 that an employee of the district has tested positive for the coronavirus,” stated the press released issued by Superintendent Ismael Garcia.

“Rest assured that I am working closely with the Cameron County Public Health Department to follow all Public Health guidelines and continue to follow its health and safety protocols to ensure the continued health of our employees, students and community,” the release stated.

Also Wednesday, a Rio Hondo man identified himself through his Facebook page as the man who tested positive for the virus.

“I took it upon myself to get tested to protect my son, who is in town from California, and it came back positive,” the post read.

“I can truly say I had no symptoms and still don’t. I am in self quarantine for 14 days. I want everyone to know they need to take this serious and to listen to county guidelines,” the post read.

According to the Cameron County Public Health Department, this is the first potential community-acquired case of the coronavirus.

“Based on the information we have received thus far, the individual has no known exposure through travel or contact with another case,” Health Administrator Esmeralda Guajardo wrote in the release. “We are continuing our investigation to identify if this is a case of community transmission.”

Police Chief William Bilokury said precautions are being taken and there is no need to panic.

“We are not going to people’s houses or businesses for low priority calls. We are taking reports over the phone, which usually isn’t a good idea because you really don’t know who you are talking to but we are doing that right now,” he said.

Rio Hondo City Hall and the police department lobby are closed while the shelter in place order stands.

Patrol cars have been placed outside grocery stores to help alleviate traffic.

“Hoarders are going out there, and I’ll put that out there – people are hoarding for no reason. It is creating a problem, but we are putting patrol cars as a visible deterrence. We go by frequently and make our presence known,” he said.

Bilokury said protocol will continue as usual even after the confirmed case.