New orders expected as virus death toll climbs by over 40 in Hidalgo Co.

Hotels will soon take convalescent patients; more than 1,000 new cases confirmed

Local hotels will begin taking convalescent COVID-19 patients at the end of this upcoming week, state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa announced Sunday as the death toll increased by more than 40 this weekend.

Hidalgo County Health Authority Dr. Ivan Melendez said during a news conference Sunday that over 1,000 new cases and more than 40 deaths have already been reported in Hidalgo County this weekend due to the disease. 

Judge Richard F. Cortez also announced he is issuing new emergency orders Monday, despite the fact that he doesn’t have any “enforcement capabilities.”

“But you know what? I dont think I’m going to need it,” Cortez said, noting the community is realizing the enormity of the issue. He asked residents to “voluntarily do the right thing.” 

And while Cortez did not indicate what those orders will entail, he did say there is no one quick fix. 

“I want to tell you that locking down people, locking down businesses is not the sole answer,” he said. “It’s gonna take a combination of things.”

His announcement comes as climbing case numbers and deaths have more than doubled and quadrupled, respectively, since the beginning of the month.

“This week is going to be bad. Next week it’s going to be wrose,” Hinojosa warned. 

Still, Melendez and Cortez expressed optimism during the conference. 

“We are seeing some sunlight on the other side of the storm,” Melendez said. “And we do believe there are some positive things coming down the road.”

A U.S. Navy medical team is also headed to the area to help local doctors provide acute care, and it is expected to arrive on Friday, just as hotels begin taking patients, Hinojosa said.