Hidalgo County establishments again required to reduce occupancy to 50%

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An empty restaurant (Nexstar, file)

Edinburg, Texas (KVEO)—Officials with Hidalgo County announced Friday that all establishments are again required to reduce occupancy to 50 percent.

Starr County establishments again required to reduce occupancy to 50% due to COVID-19 hospitalizations

The order comes as Hidalgo County and other parts of the Rio Grande Valley have been re-designated a high hospitalization area because of the number of patients being treated for COVID-19.

The order is effective one minute after midnight on Friday, January 8, and shall remain in effect until it is modified or rescinded, according to the county.

Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez said he issued the order one day after being notified by Dr. John Hellerstedt, Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, that the Rio Grande Valley was once again a high hospitalization region.

In addition, Cortez said all elective surgeries have been hold off until further notice.

“With the holidays, we have been concerned for weeks about the hospitalization rate,” Judge Cortez said. “While much of the community is rightly focused on COVID-19 vaccinations, this is a stark reminder that the virus continues to impact our community and we must continue to exercise caution around other people.”

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Hidalgo County now exceed 15 percent capacity for the past seven consecutive days.

An order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott states that is Trauma Service Area Q, has seven consecutive days of COVID-19 hospitalizations above 15% of total hospital capacity, certain indoor businesses will have to go back to 50% occupancy and elective surgeries will have to stop.

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