Hidalgo County get 1,274 new COVID-19 cases, nurses die, doctors isolated

Local News

EDINBURG, Texas (KVEO) — On Thursday, 1,274 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Hidalgo County alone.

This is the largest single-day increase along with South Texas and Thursday, Hidalgo County officials met to discuss the massive surge.

“If all of you have the opportunity to walk into our hospitals you will see warehouses of human beings on stretchers and ventilators, one right after another and another,” said Dr. Ivan Melendez, M.D., Health Authority for Hidalgo County.

Melendez himself tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

The health authority remains in self-isolation.

There are now 741 people in Hidalgo County Hospitals with 200 of them in intensive care units.

“From three people in the ICU to over 200,”said Melendez, “It took us 3 months to get to 12 fatalities and now we’re having 15-17 people die every day. ” 

Some of those deaths are health care workers.

This week, Lorenza Guerrero, a nurse that worked at McAllen Medical Center for over 49 years, treating victims of sexual assault, passed away after contracting the virus.

“Unfortunately, she and other 4 more nurses passed away after direct contact of COVID viruses from patients and we have six physicians, including myself, sequestered at home obtaining the virus from taking care of patients,” said Melendez.

Because there are so many health care workers out, Hidalgo County requested 2,500 medical personnel from other areas to come and help.

 “We want to thank the Governor and the State of Texas for sending those nurses, I don’t know what we would’ve done without them,” said Richard Cortez, Hidalgo County Judge.

Those nurses as well as EMS staff and strike teams from other regions are now caring for people that are forced to be in the hospital alone, due to COVID-19.

“I had three cases this week- child infected both parents, parents both dead,” said Melendez, “These are my own patients.”

Doctors say the majority of people hospitalized contracted the virus from family members that visited.

That’s why officials are saying if you don’t stay home if you’ve tested positive, you could end up behind bars.

“We know they’re supposed to isolate themselves, which we’ve been stressing, until they receive a negative result, if they do not do this, if they don’t, then they could face charges and be charged with deadly conduct,” said Ricardo Rodriguez, Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney.

The new 1,274 cases are not a result of the mass testing at Bert Ogden Arena.

Those test results have not yet come back in and are expected on Friday, the earliest.

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