Local leaders ask state for resources to test Delta variant

Local News

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (KVEO) — Now that the Delta variant is confirmed in the valley, health officials are calling on testing to be done in order to determine whether there are more cases.

“Not surprised we knew it was spreading,” said Cameron County Health Authority, Dr. James Castillo when reacting to the news of the Delta variant.

Dr. Castillo knew the Delta variant would reach the valley considering the numbers that have been seen across the state of Texas.

“The number of the percentage of the Delta variant has increased much faster than I even thought it would, over 50% now,” said Dr. Castillo.

Dr. Castillo expects that number to grow everyday. Now, when it comes to testing for the variant, Dr. Castillo said there are some obstacles they are being met with.

“Variant testing is very centralized we have to go to the state and the federal government so not many samples are being sent,” he said.

While samples can be sent at random Dr. Castillo adds there are specific cases they ask to be sent out in a hurry.

“For example, if a person were vaccinated and ends up on a ventilator that would be a case that we would want to know is this a new version is this a version we have discovered yet has it gotten more dangerous,” said Dr. Castillo.

Hidalgo and Cameron County officials are asking the state to bring resources to help test for the variant, but Dr. Castillo said it could be a while before that happens. 

As far as restrictions being put in place, they’re not off the table. “Any order that I give in order for it to be enforceable has to be consistent with any order that the governor gives,” said Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez.  

Cortez adding he would still consider putting some restrictions in place, the same way he did last year if things get out of hand again.

“If it helps us reduce deaths and reduce the pain and suffering from this disease then of course I would do the same thing, if I disagree with the governor then so be it,” said Cortez.

Health officials believe the delta variant will become 95% percent of the cases they see in the future. They urge everyone, even those who are fully vaccinated, to mask up. 

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