Nine COVID-19 deaths reported in Valley

Hidalgo County confirmed the deaths of another seven residents due to COVID-19 via a news release Thursday.

County Judge Richard F. Cortez continues to reference the current surge in cases across the country as a reminder to remain vigilant in mitigating the spread of the disease, and expressed grief over those who’ve died locally.

“The country is seeing record numbers of new cases,” Cortez said in the release. “We must prepare for that by being extra careful among crowds and by wearing facial coverings in public. I extend my condolences to the family and friends of those who died and my prayers to those who are sick.”

The county’s death toll now stands at 53 short of the 2,000 mark. 

An additional 177 cases of the virus were also confirmed Thursday, raising the total in the county to 35,662. The net active cases in the county are at 2,331.

Another 64 people have also been released from isolation, bringing the overall number to 31,384.

For the first time in weeks, hospitalizations have exceeded the 150-170 range with 182 people with COVID-19 now in county hospitals. Of the 182, 67 are in intensive care units

Thus far, 194,754 COVID-19 tests have been administered with 35,662 returning positive and 158,668 negative.

Cortez also urged caution Thursday, citing the COVID-19 pandemic, for Election Day traditions, such as gathering together with favorite candidates to await results after the polls close. 

“Democracy comes to life on Election Day and a vibrant part of this important day includes Election Night gatherings,” Cortez said in another news release Thursday. “Unfortunately, such gatherings can be ripe for the spread of the COVID-19 infection and I urge people to be careful.”

For outdoor gatherings, Cortez reiterated the current safety measures in place for the county prohibits gatherings of 10 or more people. However, the county judge mentioned events are allowed only if approved by the mayor of the municipality or by Cortez himself, if the event is planned for unincorporated areas in the county.

Events are allowed to be held indoors, but only if the business venues developed and are exercising health and safety practices — employees and customers wearing facial coverings; groups separated by at least 6 feet; hand sanitation stations; tables limited to 10 people; screening employees for COVID-19 symptoms and limiting occupancy to no more than 75% of the business’ listed maximum occupancy.

“One of the greatest attributes of our country involves elections and I applaud those citizens who participate in this process by voting and showing support for candidates on the ballot.

“But we must face the reality that a deadly virus remains active in our community and the best way to protect ourselves is to avoid large crowds, including reconsidering whether to participate in this cherished Election Night tradition,” Cortez stated in the release. 

ELSEWHERE IN THE RGV

In Cameron County, two deaths and 41 new positive COVID-19 cases were reported, county Judge Eddie Treviño Jr announced in a news release Thursday. 

The ages of the two deaths reported were two women in their 70s and 80s.

Additionally, county officials reported 20 individuals have recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 22,022.

As of now the tally of known COVID-19 positive cases in Cameron County is 22,022, with the death toll at 1,083.

In Willacy County, officials reported seven new COVID-19 positive cases, county Judge Aurelio “Keter” Guerra announced in a news release Thursday.

The ages of the seven cases range between 10 and 40.

The total number of known positive cases in Willacy County is 1,213.