Hidalgo Co. reports 10 virus deaths, lower hospital numbers as officials continue concern over mask-lifting

Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr. answers questions during a press conference on August 08, 2020, providing an update on the fight against COVID-19. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald)

As case activity continues to be reported daily, with Hidalgo County numbers reporting double digit deaths but continuing declining hospitalization rates, Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr. joined local officials in the Rio Grande Valley in expressing disappointment with Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to lift the state-wide mask mandate.

“While I can understand going to 100% capacity, I may not agree with it, but I really think the governor is making a huge mistake with regards to the lifting of the mask mandate,” Treviño said Tuesday evening. “Just a few weeks ago our hospitals were near and at beyond capacity, and our COVID cases had a positivity rate of beyond 30%. So to think that we’re ok now just a few weeks later I think is a big, big mistake. We all need to keep doing what’s worked.”

Treviño said that despite the mandate being lifted, he hopes that residents will continue to wear their masks when out in public.

He said that he wished that Abbott would’ve waited a few more months before lifting the mandate.

“I think if he could’ve just waited a little while longer, I really think in the next two to three months as we continue to inoculate and get the vaccine out in our community, we’re going to be in a much better shape,” Treviño said. “I’m going to plead and ask everybody to keep wearing their masks here locally so that we don’t lose the gains that we’ve made over the last month to get out of the last crisis that we were involved in. 

“The mask wearing is really critical I think, especially if we want to be able to get back to 100% occupancy without worrying about people continuing to get sick.”

In Hidalgo County — where county Judge Richard F. Cortez, Health Authority Dr. Ivan Melendez and Mission Mayor Armando O’Cana expressed similar concerns Tuesday and as school districts announced masks were still required in all its functions and operations — 463 new cases of the virus and 10 additional COVID-19 related deaths were reported Wednesday.

The 10 deaths included residents from Donna, McAllen, Mercedes, Mission, Pharr, San Juan, Weslaco and an undisclosed location, ranging in age from 50 to over 70. The deaths raise the county’s COVID-19 toll to 2,655.

New cases were broken down as 239 confirmed, 218 probable and six suspected. The total number of positive cases in the county is now 78,165, of which 51,337 are confirmed, 25,666 probable and 1,162 suspected.

Hidalgo County also reported 179 people in county hospitals Wednesday, of which 86 are in intensive care units. There were also an additional 332 people released from isolation, raising that total to 73,159.

There are 2,351 net active cases in the county as of Wednesday morning.

The county has administered a total of 410,345 COVID-19 tests, and 331,437 have had negative results.

[email protected]