HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Schools have been a nexus point for pediatric COVID-19 cases and hundreds of students in the Rio Grande Valley have already tested positive for COVID-19 since school began.
The rising increase in pediatric COVID-19 cases was not unexpected.
“It’s an impossible task to return to school and not have an increase in infections,” said Dr. Ivan Melendez, the Hidalgo County health authority. “It’s just not the way medicine works.”
School districts are now required to report COVID-19 cases to the state.
Edinburg CISD is the largest school district in Hidalgo County with 32,748 students and has reported 300 COVID-19 cases in students since the semester began on August 16, but that number may be low.
Melendez said that Hidalgo County is “probably averaging 350 to 400 [COVID-19 cases] a week, which if you divide that by five, that’s about 45-50 to 60. Is this underreported? Absolutely.”
The Department of State Health Services reset their dashboard on COVID-19 cases in schools on August 13 and the data since then is incomplete and inconsistent, with some schools not providing any data at all.
You can view the Excel file below.
Based on the reported numbers in the database over 800 COVID-19 cases from school’s in Hidalgo County is on par with counties of similar size throughout the state.
“So many variables, so that comparison is very hard to make. I would say that we’re probably about the same as other areas but there’s always room for improvement,” Melendez said.
Melendez added that the actual number of cases isn’t the important thing to think about with the situation. It’s the impact that COVID-19 is having on the community.
“We’ve had one school teacher die, we still don’t know where she got the disease. Interestingly, it took us 18 months to have three pediatric fatalities and in the last two weeks we’ve had a fatality each week,” said Melendez.