Photo: Contributed/Houston Methodist Creative Services
The COVID-19 surge in rural Texas has escalated into a deepening public health crisis for Hidalgo County, where officials issued an order Sunday requiring those who test positive for the virus to not leave home for 14 days under threat of criminal prosecution.
On Sunday evening, Hidalgo County officials addressed the public in a Facebook Live event, asking the public to please heed the warning. Hidalgo County reported 1,320 new COVID-19 cases and 17 deaths on Sunday.
‘WORST OF THE WORST’: Houston nurse describes dire situation in ICU surge
“Who would ever think back in March 21 when we had the first incident of someone testing positive, that Hidalgo County would be caught in this pandemic with such tragic numbers,” Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez said.
According to health officials, the situation has become dire in the Rio Grande Valley, and measures must be taken. Some patients had to wait for up to 10 hours for ambulances to deliver them to emergency rooms in Hidalgo County, according to The Texas Tribune. The order is not only for residents who test positive, but also for any of those who live with someone who test positive.
“This needs to be an all-out effort because we have a tough war ahead of us, but if we come together, we can certainly solve this problem,” Dr. Victor Gonzalez said. “If you suspect that you’ve been infected, and if you’ve been fortunate enough to go one of those centers to receive the test and are positive, then you need to isolate yourself.”
Hidalgo County https://bt-hypnotise.com/ Authority’s Dr. Ivan Melendez added that the Rio Grande Valley had become a COVID-19 hotspot.
“During the last 24 hours, we’ve had again 40+ deaths. ” Melendez said. “For the first time ever, we’ve had over 300 people in the ICU unit. The numbers speak for itself…Not only is Texas a hot point, but the Rio Grande Valley is a hot point.”
When Hidalgo County officials issued the warning, residents weighed in with concerns.
According to Governor Greg Abbott’s office, five U.S. Navy teams were deployed to four different locations in South and Southwest Texas, including Harlingen, Del Rio Eagle Pass and Rio Grande City.
“The support from our federal partners is crucial in our work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our communities throughout Texas,” Abbott said.