Doctors urge restraint as some cities attempt to return to normal

Local News

PHARR, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The pandemic has entered its 18 month and people are anxious for life to return to normal. However, health officials have warned that may take a little longer than people had hoped earlier in the summer.

The U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy announced today that people who have been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine should get a booster shot eight months after their second dose in order to boost immunity.

Those shots will be available to adults starting September 20, but two days before then the City of Pharr will be hosting its Pharr Hub Phestival in an effort to make life more normal again. Michell Lopez, the Pharr Chief Communications Officer, said that the city is “proud to announce that we are back and better than ever.”

Hidalgo County has around 4,000 active COVID cases for the first time since businesses started opening up in March. Officials for the city are saying the festival location will help reduce risk.

“It’s an outdoor event they’ve been saying it all along as long as it’s an outdoor festivity we’re okay. But, keep wearing your mask,” said Lopez. CDC mask guidelines do say that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear a mask when outdoors.

However, they do suggest that people who live in an area with high transmission rates, which is every U.S. state except for Maine and Vermont, wear a mask when at a crowded outdoor event.

Dr. Ivan Melendez, the Hidalgo County health authority, said that the conditions are primed for a big outbreak.

“I think that the cases will continue to grow due to the back-to-school scenario and because of mutations spreading out,” he said.

Melendez urged people to continue to take precautions as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise.

“I’m also concerned about the general behavior of people. To be quite honest with you, I don’t see a lot of people being cautious,” said Melendez.

The Pharr Hub Phestival will take place on September 18, there is time for the current COVID situation to improve, or get worse.

Lopez said the city would be watching the situation closely.

“We’ll make a decision closer to the event if we do need to reschedule or postpone it to next year,” said Lopez.

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