Super Bowl weekend poses risks to already high COVID-19 hospital rates

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HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — Many people are betting on the Super Bowl this weekend but health officials say risking your health is not a game you want to play. 

The Rio Grande Valley region trauma service area for hospitals is above the 15 percent disaster line at 19.1% occupancy according to the Department of State Health Services, and health officials are anticipating this weekend to bring another major up-tick. 

The Cameron County Health Authority reported a slight increase in the hospital rate but it is not without a cost.  

“Unfortunately, one of the ways it comes down is when people are dying in the hospital and we are starting to see that right now,” said Dr. James Castillo.  

While vaccines are rolling out, health professionals warn that at this stage vaccinations cannot completely stop the spread. 

“Interestingly enough now we are vaccinating but that doesn’t mean the virus is not spreading, it is continuing to spread,” said chief administrator at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance Dr. Carlos Cardenas.  

Dr. Castillo said what it does it protects those who receive it from developing symptoms, but not from being contagious.  

“It does look though that people aren’t totally protected from developing asymptomatic COVID after the vaccine which means that they can still be contagious,” said Dr. Castillo. 

Dr. Cardenas said they are still patients recovering from New Years and Christmas and expect consequences after this weekend.  

“Each holiday we’ve seen a bump in the number of COVID-19 cases,” said Cardenas.  

Castillo said that Cameron County has to average below 50 positive cases a day for month to bring down hospital rates, but the latest data from Thursday shows Cameron county at 89 confirmed cases in one day.  

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“The perfect storm for this virus is a group of people who don’t live together, gather together without masks, in an indoor environment, for an extended period of time,” said Dr. Castillo.  

In an effort to control hospital rates, the rules must remain the same.  

“If you care about your abuelita, your tios and tias, the best thing to do is to wear a mask, wash your hands, maintain your social distancing and that means on Super Bowl too,” said Dr. Cardenas.   

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