BY NAXIELY LOPEZ-PUENTE AND BERENICE GARCIA | STAFF WRITERS 

EDINBURG — Hidalgo County is in negotiations with contractors to possibly open a convalescent center and a field hospital to help relieve the overburdened local hospitals, Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez said Thursday.

“We’re working with the federal government to possibly bring a field hospital here or work it ourselves to see if we can develop one with some additional contractors,” Cortez said during a Facebook Live news conference Thursday afternoon. 

Negotiations are expected to continue over the course of a few days, but these facilities can be developed rather quickly, Cortez said, adding the county has already identified three possible sites.

Contractors have ensured county officials that they can retrofit an existing facility to serve 100 patients in a seven-day timeframe. 

“As part of our meeting today, we did hear from some contractors that are in (the) business of doing that, and the good news is that we can get it done,” Cortez said. “The bad news, always, is that it’s always a costly amount of money.”

He declined to offer an estimated cost of the project, citing ongoing negotiations.  

“It’s very early in the negotiating part. But the good news is, it can be done,” he said.

County officials are hoping to partner with local hospitals, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as the state and federal governments to finance the project, Cortez said. 

nlopez@themonitor.com | bereniceg@themonitor.com