Hidalgo County holds press conference on COVID-19, immigration updates

Local News

HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas (Valley Central) — Hidalgo County officials held a press conference Thursday, discussing COVID-19 and immigration updates.

Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortex started the press conference by stating a few statistics of COVID within the community. Cases of COVID are currently approaching almost over 100 thousand cases of Covid-19 and is about to surpass three thousand of people who have died due to COVID.

Judge Cortez discussed the skepticism circling the internet and social media blaming migrants for the surge in COVID cases, saying that it is simply not true.

“The COVID numbers are going up because people still refuse are not willing to get vaccinated, we must get our community vaccinated,” said Judge Cortez.

Judge Cortez further emphasized that migrants were not a threat to the community by reading the crime statistics, proving there has not been a rise since the arrival of migrants.

Before passing to Eddie Olivarez, Director of Health and Human Services, Cortez called on nurses within the community to stand up and help. Olivarez added to Cortezs call to nurses.

“We ask that all health care professionals, particularly nurses, please reengage into assisting and supporting hospitals here locally. It’s very important, your role as lifesavers is critical to our community,” said Olivarez.

Hidalgo county has worked on getting vaccination however, they continue to need help from the public.

“85 to 90 percent of those [individuals hospitalized for COVID] are not vaccinated. Vaccine is a primary concern for us [Hidalgo County] and it’s an easy fix,” said Olivarez.

460,809 thousand people have been fully vaccinated in Hidalgo County.

“Our vaccination rate is good, but can be much better.”

From Mid February to August 4, 87,936 migrants were assessed, 4,274 were positive. Making the percentage of positive rate 8.27. Wednesday, August 4, the rate increased to 16 percent.

Hidalgo County announced that they have a total of 18 cases of the delta variant as of Thursday morning, August 5, bringing the county’s total to 23.

Olivarez emphasized the importance of receiving the vaccine to avoid contracting COVID-19 and the variants.

“If your fully vaccinated it lessens the probability of you having serious medical complications,” said Olivarez.

Lastly Dr. Ivan Melendez the medical authority updated the public on the viewpoint of hospitals.

Melendez opened the discussion by clarifying that he is the medical authority that represents the doctors within the community, the doctors who care for families in the Valley.

Melendez spoke on what exactly was contributing to the increase of cases in the Rio Grande Valley.

“The variants, the lack of vaccination, and the people not paying attention to things we’ve asked them to do before, all contributing to our numbers increasing,” said Melendez.

However, it isn’t all bad news.

“We’ve had record amount of first-time vaccinated people,” said Melendez.

Melendez spoke to the public on the fact that the public is “greatly underestimating” the danger they are in.

Adding that a majority of conspiracy just “scientifically don’t hold true,” said Melendez.

Melendez continued speaking on uneducated individuals not using research to fight COVID with tools such as masks and vaccines, finalizing his viewpoint by adding a personal experience.

“The six people I’ve admitted since yesterday, all six of them were unvaccinated,” said Melendez.

“Don’t make an opinion without looking at the facts… Vaccines, social distancing, and face masks, they’re facts, two plus two is four, they work.”

Melendez talked on the possibility of migrants being a factor in the increase of cases.

“Are the migrating folks part of the problem, absolutely….. are they the problem, no,” said Melendez.

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