HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) – The nation’s top disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci is clarifying a statement made this week saying the U.S out of the pandemic phase. Dr. Fauci is now adding the country is in a new phase of the pandemic that is not as severe.

Both the Hidalgo and Cameron County health departments tell ValleyCentral they are still on high alert.

“It’s just jargon, it’s just semantics. It really has no impact except what people want to pull out of the definition of the word,” said Dr. Ivan Melendez, Hidalgo County Health Authority.

Dr. Melendez tells ValleyCentral COVID-19 is still a threat locally despite the U.S taking a turn in the pandemic.

“If you look at our particular area, we still have people dying but not every day.” Dr. Melendez said. “We still have today about 3% of the hospital is still filled with people with COVID.”

As of April 27, Hidalgo County has reported 195 new cases and zero deaths. Dr. Melendez adds those numbers are a big improvement compared to last year.

“Do we at the same time need to be joyful and honest and glad and not alarmist and say we are heading in the right direction, numbers are a lot better? Absolutely,” Dr. Melendez said.

In Cameron County, there have only been 10 new daily cases reported. Even though the pandemic is not completely over, Cameron County Health Authority Dr. James Castillo tells ValleyCentral his department is reflecting on their experience.

“Hopefully we don’t have to deal with this type of thing again anytime in our lifetimes,” Castillo said. ” But the science would say otherwise. So what I think we can do is to learn from the mistakes and the things we actually did well.”  

While the country enters the “control phase” of the pandemic, doctors are hopeful for the future.

“We are on the tail end of this,” Dr. Castillo said. ” There are still going to be cases going up and down, but we don’t think we will go back to the days of what we have been through during the worst of it.”