Hidalgo County: ‘RGV no longer considered a high COVID-19 hospitalization area’

Local News

FILE – In this July 29, 2020 file photo, medical personnel talk as they care for COVID-19 patients at DHR Health, in McAllen, Texas. Texas surpassed 10,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths Monday as the lingering toll of a massive summer outbreak continues, and health experts worry that recent encouraging trends could be fragile as schools begin reopening for 5 million students across the state. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Edinburg, Texas (KVEO)-Officials with Hidalgo County announced Tuesday night that the Rio Grande Valley is no longer considered a high hospitalization area, according to a letter sent to the County Judge.

According to the county, the Commissioner of the Texas Health Department of State Health Services John Hellerstedt wrote to County Judge Richard Cortez saying that Trauma Service Area V (TSA-V), which includes Hidalgo County, Cameron, Starr and Willacy, were now below the 15 percent threshold.

Hidalgo county officials say that the Rio Grande Valley is no longer a subject to have occupancy standards, based on the executive order placed by Governor Greg Abbott in September.

Gov. Abbott relaxed occupancy standards across the state that allowed allowed places of business to open up its occupancy to 75 percent of the facility’s listed capacity – up from 50 percent.

However, Gov. Abbott made exceptions for three areas of Texas; the Rio Grande Valley, the Laredo area, and the Victoria are. This was because hospitals in those regions had COVID-19 patient caseloads in excess of 15 percent of the hospital’s caseload over a seven-day period.

“As a result, as of October 6, 2020, all restaurants, retail stores, office buildings, manufacturing facilities, gyms and exercise facilities and classes, museums, and libraries in all counties in TSA-V may return to previous occupancy levels,” Hellerstedt wrote in a letter to Judge Cortez.

“This demonstrates that the people of Hidalgo County are making positive strides in combating this virus, and that’s welcome news,” Judge Cortez said. Still, he urged caution, saying the virus remains active in the county.

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