HARLINGEN, TEXAS (Border Report) — Border and local law enforcement agents saluted local frontline COVID-19 workers with their emergency vehicle lights flashing and sirens blaring during a drive by processional Wednesday morning at several locations in South Texas that are battling the deadly virus.

About 30 vehicles filled with agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Border Patrol, as well as state and local law enforcement agencies, including fire fighters, state troopers and local police, took part in the drive-by parade in front of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s School of Medicine Clinical Education Building in Harlingen, Texas, shortly before 9 a.m. The procession also made its way past workers standing out front of Valley Regional Medical Center, Harlingen Medical Center, Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen and Valley Baptist Medical Center-Brownsville.

“It was simply a roll-by salute to frontline healthcare workers led by U.S. Customs and Border Protection together with other law enforcement partners to express appreciation to our medical professionals for the outstanding work that they do in these unprecedented times,” said Rick Pauza, public affairs officer for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, based in Laredo, Texas.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Border Patrol and agents from state and local law enforcement agencies took part in a drive by processional honoring health care workers who are helping with the COVID-19 crisis in South Texas on Aug. 19, 2020. About 30 cars took part in the processional that visited several locations in Harlingen, Texas. (Border Report Photo/Sandra Sanchez)

At the UTRGV center — where they take calls and direct patients to local testing sites — a couple dozen cheering staffers came out to wave and thank the agents who they say are also instrumental in battling the coronavirus crisis as front line workers.

Mike Patriarca speaks about responding to coronavirus in South Texas on Aug. 19, 2020 (Border Report Photo/Sandra Sanchez)
Mike Patriarca speaks about responding to coronavirus in South Texas on Aug. 19, 2020 (Border Report Photo/Sandra Sanchez)

“It’s really, really neat. It really takes the community together to be better and that’s what you see here: The law enforcement officers with those on the front lines battling this pandemic in the call center, as well as those in full PPE fear triaging patients, doing the swabs on the front lines. It takes a village,” Mike Patriarca, executive director of UT Health Rio Grande Valley and executive vice dean for the School of Medicine, told Border Report immediately after the procession passed by.

UTRGV is conducting about 1,200 coronavirus tests per day with a turnaround time of 24 hours, Patriarca said. The university’s School of Medicine, the only such institution in South Texas, also is doing contact tracing calls to family and friends of infected patients.

Over 44,700 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Rio Grande Valley and 1,587 have died. About 30,000 people have recovered, ValleyCentral.com reports.