RGV reports 17 more COVID-19 deaths, 469 new cases

The Rio Grande Valley reported 17 more COVID-19 deaths and 469 new cases of the virus Thursday.

All of those deaths and 469 of the cases were reported in Hidalgo County.

The county reported 313 of those cases as confirmed, 142 as probable and 14 as suspect, bringing the county to a total of 72,213 confirmed cases — of which 48,816 are confirmed, 22,365 are probable and 1,032 are suspected.

Currently, 273 individuals are battling the virus in local hospitals, 131 of them in intensive care units.

The 17 people who died of the virus were all above 40, most of them in their 60s and 70s. They hailed from Donna, Edinburg, Hidalgo, McAllen, Mercedes, Mission and Weslaco.

Cameron and Starr counties did not release COVID-19 data as of press time.

Willacy County reported 17 new cases Thursday, six of them backlogged cases from the previous day.

More backlogged cases following this week’s outages appear possible.

Dr. Emilie Prot, regional medical director for the Texas Department of State Health Services’ Public Health Region 11, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that her office lost power and that she wasn’t able to update COVID-19 case counts.

“Expecting backlogged cases,” she wrote.

Dr. John Thomas, director of the UT Health RGV Clinical Laboratory, said Wednesday that the university was without power and wasn’t expecting to have it back until sometime between Friday and Monday.

Although COVID-19 testing was continuing on backup power Wednesday, Thomas said his lab was only able to handle about 500 samples a day under the conditions.

The lab normally has the capacity to process up to 2,000 samples a day.