Starr County death toll under-reported, hospitals at capacity, spike expected after 4th of July

Local News

STARR COUNTY, Texas — Starr County Memorial Hospital’s Board President Dr. Jose Vazquez has confirmed to CBS4/LOCAL 23 News that COVID-19 beds are at capacity in the county.

Dr. Vazquez is also Starr County’s Health Authority and is one in 823 COVID-19 positive cases in the county.

“I am staying home,” he said via Zoom interview.

Starr County is on the cusp of being overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases.

“The hospitals are getting saturated and are not able to handle the big influx of patients that we have. More and more people are dying every day.”

On paper, Dr. Vazquez’s claim of ‘people dying everyday’ may appear exaggerated in Starr County because press releases and updates state “3 deaths” as of July 3rd

However, a major backlog of paperwork has slowed the exact death toll.

“We know for a fact that more than 10 individuals have died in our county with COVID-19 related illnesses.”

The backlog is on two fronts; hospitals and long term care facilities are overwhelmed with providing medical records to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services and the state is flooded with documents.

Starr County is expected to see more death with or without state recognition in the coming weeks.

“We have seen throughout this pandemic that every single time we have had a major holiday it has meant an increase in the number of cases,” Dr. Vazquez said. “It happened on Memorial weekend, it happened during the Easter weekend, it happened during Spring Break and it will happen again on July 4th.”

Starr County along with health officials across the state urge voluntary shelter-in-place over the holiday weekend.

Dr. Vazquez also has confirmed in a statement to CBS4/LOCAL 23 News, hospital staff members have contracted COVID-19 and as of this report, there is not a nursing shortage for now.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

COVID-19 SAFETY TIPS

COVID Tip: Wash Your Hands

COVID Tip: Cover When Coughing and Sneezing

COVID Tip: Disinfecting

COVID Tip: Cover Your Mouth

COVID Tip: Avoid Close Contact

COVID-19 Tip: Disinfect Areas

COVID-19 Tip: Wash Hands Often

ValleyCentral App Links

App Store Link
Google Play Link

Inside RGV Politics

More Inside RGV Politics
More Throwback Thursday