HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The U.S. continues to face a surge of COVID-19 cases. While reports of countries in Europe seeing a drop in cases and the removal of COVID restrictions, officials in the Rio Grande Valley explain what we could see in a few weeks.

“My expectation is that our numbers will go up for a week or so and then they’ll start coming down, hopefully by mid-February the numbers will consistently be dropping,” said Dr. Ivan Melendez, Hidalgo County Health Authority.

Dr. Melendez is optimistic about where our current COVID numbers are headed. “We’re hopeful that we can go from a pandemic to it being an endemic, meaning that it’s around for quite some time much less virulent, perhaps seasonal,” he said.

Right now, countries in Europe plan on lifting all COVID restrictions by February, but county officials here explain that they are letting the pandemic play itself out. 

“Whether we take any action or take no action we think that this virus is going to take it’s natural progression which is escalation and decline,” said Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez.

While it takes its natural progression, Cortez said there are no plans to place any more restrictions. 

“It’s about taking personal responsibility, not only for yourself but everybody around you for the businesses that are doing business they know what precautions to take so I don’t believe that I will be recommending to my commissioners to require any restrictions on commerce,” said Cortez.

As for the future, health officials said it’s all about adapting. “There are current vaccines that are being developed with a more efficacy against omicron and so I believe in the future like the flu, as we become from pandemic to endemic we will be having modification every year,” said Dr. Melendez.

Both Dr. Melendez and Judge Cortez share that while nothing will go back to the way they were, they are hopeful about the next few weeks.