MERCEDES, Texas — Dozens of hotels in the Rio Grande Valley plus the Mercedes Dome are preparing to shelter flood victims.
Mercedes recently approved for the Dome to be used to treat COVID patients. Tonight, officials tell us it will be used as a shelter during the storm, but not everyone is allowed inside.
” Our dome shelter which is on north vermont but that shelter is only going to be utilized for positive covid citizens or anybody who has been around any covid patient or is waiting results,” said Mercedes Fire Chief Javier Campos Jr.
Chacon Middle School will be housing residents who are not sick.
“That’s going to be the chacon middle school which is located on south mile one east and that shelter is going to be manned by the American Red Cross,” he added.
The school has five buses that will be mobilizing residents, if needed. Campos said the shelter will continue practicing social distancing.
” We will have our cots that are separate and we’ll have chairs separated,” said Campos.
The capacity at the Mercedes Dome is over 300 but due to the pandemic , it’s limiting to 78 people. The South Texas American Red Cross, Executive Director David Luna said there are more options.
“Families needing shelter will be placed in hotels temporarily .”
According to Luna, there are over 40 hotels across the RGV ready to house residents until it’s safe to return to their homes.
” If there’s not enough hotel rooms available we would want to assure that half the people will go into these big buildings in order to minimize contact,” said Luna.
Meanwhile, Hidalgo County has activated emergency operation mode.
“Everyone has been put on alert, all our emergency equipment high profile vehicles or rescue boats with our municipalities are ready to mobilized at the time be,” said Ricardo Saldana, the county’s Emergency Management Coordinator.
Although the county has 10 rescue boats ready to deploy, Luna urgued residents to self evacuate early.
” Everyone has been instructed to have disposable face coverings in their boats or vehicles just in case those that we rescue dont have facial coverings then they can provide some,” he said.
If you’re looking for shelter you may call 1-800-Red Cross or 211 for locations.