RGV health officials say rapid testing plays a major role in positive case spikes

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — Positive COVID-19 cases in the Rio Grande Valley continue to increase. Hidalgo County reporting around 700 cases daily and Cameron County reporting in the hundreds. Those county health officials say testing is affecting those numbers.

“There’s less mass testing, in other words, people just getting tested because they wanted to or because they are worried, and there’s more people getting tested because they have symptoms,” said Dr. James Castillo, Cameron County Health Authority.  

Dr. Castillo said around 500 tests are done daily, but the kind of testing that is being done is playing a major role in their positive cases. 

“There’s been over 16,500 tests done in Cameron County alone, those test include antigen test, PCR test, they also include people getting tested multiple times,” he said.

With the large difference from Hidalgo to Cameron County, Castillo said more testing is being done in Hidalgo County which would explain their increase. 

“In Cameron it’s like one test per 25 residents and Hidalgo is around one for every 22, so I think Hidalgo is maybe doing 10% more testing,” said Dr. Castillo.

Dr. Ivan Melendez, Hidalgo County Health Authority said that while they are seeing a surge in cases and testing is widely available, he adds there can never be too much.  

“We would still like to have a lot more testing, you can never over test so if you’re going to do effective contact tracing testing is of paramount importance,” said Dr. Melendez.

The Texas Department of State Health Services shows the total tests performed throughout the pandemic. Cameron County stands at 146,000 and Hidalgo County at nearly 280,000.

Dr. Melendez urging residents to be safe during the holidays and said many COVID-19 deaths are preventable.

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