Cameron Co. reports 3 COVID-19 fatalities; RGV surpasses 1,500 cases

Cameron County officials reported Wednesday that an additional three people have died as a result of COVID-19, bringing the total number of fatalities there to 39.

The deaths include an 88-year-old woman and a 76-year-old man — both from Brownsville — and a 58-year-old Harlingen woman, according to a news release issued by the county Wednesday evening.

All three people had previously tested positive for the disease.

Additionally, officials are reporting 21 new cases there, bringing that county’s total to 820.

Of those, at least 13 have been linked to people who have previously tested positive while four have been linked to travel.

For at least two of the new cases, the mode of transmission is suspected to be via community spread, meaning epidemiologists could not link the transmission to a specific source.

The mode of transmission for the remaining two — two women from San Benito — remains unclear, as the news release lists their mode of suspected transmission as “San Benito.”

Also in Cameron County, a third detainee being held at the Port Isabel Detention Center — a migrant detention facility — has tested positive for the virus.

A handful of detainees there who have received deportation orders have since begun a hunger strike to protest their continued confinement at the facility in the wake of the pandemic.

Cameron County officials also released 18 people from isolation, bringing the total number of recovered to 599.

Over in Hidalgo County, officials reported Wednesday that 24 more people have tested positive for the coronavirus COVID-19, according to a news release.

The news comes as the county has intensified efforts to increase testing, with more than 16,000 tests administered as of Wednesday, Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez said in the release.

“We expected a spike in numbers as testing for this virus became more available,” Cortez said, adding that people should not panic because of the increased numbers.

“But, they should now let their guards down either,” Cortez said.

The county also reported that 31 people are currently hospitalized with the disease as of Wednesday, an increase of three since Tuesday.

Those in intensive care units has remained steady at three, according to county figures.

Additionally, the county has released 386 people from isolation, leaving Hidalgo County with 237 active cases.

Of the 16,721 tests administered in Hidalgo County, some 2,626 remain pending — a decrease of 1,274 since Tuesday.

In Willacy County, the number of people who have tested positive for the disease held steady Wednesday at 16.

Meanwhile, in Starr County, Dr. Jose Vazquez, the county’s health authority, reported that four more people had tested positive there.

The four people — two men and a woman in their 60s, and a woman in her 30s — are members of the same Rio Grande City family and are believed to have contracted the disease from another family member who previously tested positive, Vazquez said.

Overall, a total of 1,512 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in the Valley since the first reported case on March 19.