Breakthrough COVID-19 cases less than 1% in region, state

The number of COVID-19 cases and coronavirus-related deaths throughout the Rio Grande Valley remains low, and while there have been cases of the coronavirus disease among people who have been fully vaccinated, that represents less than 1% of vaccinated individuals in the region and in the state overall.

Throughout Public Health Region 11, a 19-county region in South Texas that includes the four counties in the Valley, there were a total of 93 “breakthrough” cases as of May 18, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

A “breakthrough” case is defined as an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 more than two weeks after having been fully vaccinated.

As of Monday, there were a total of 944,855 people fully vaccinated in Public Health Region 11 which means that the breakthrough cases represented .0098% of those fully vaccinated individuals. However, breakthrough cases don’t include those reported after May 18.

Statewide, there were 441 breakthrough cases, which is about .0043% of the more than 10.3 million vaccinated Texans.

Douglas Loveday, a press officer with DSHS, noted that the speed at which a vaccinated person develops immunity varies between people and age groups.

“For example, immunity in older people can take longer to be established following vaccination,” Loveday said via email on Friday.

“But the 441 cases statewide is still a fraction of the more than 10 million people now fully vaccinated in Texas,” he added. “The data also continues to show the available COVID-19 vaccines are very effective at preventing serious illness from COVID-19, and we encourage everyone who wants to get vaccinated to do so. Vaccine supply is plentiful now, so people now have more ease and opportunities to find a vaccine provider near them.”

In a possible indication of COVID-19’s decreasing impact, Hidalgo County reported no new deaths related to COVID-19 on Tuesday and just 71 more cases of the virus.

Of those cases, 15 were confirmed, 37 were probable and 19 were suspected cases.

Additionally, the Texas Juvenile Justice Department reported a youth development coach at the Evins Regional Juvenile Center in Edinburg tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday.

These new cases raised the county’s total to 91,429, of which 59,866 were confirmed, 29,470 were probable and 2,093 were suspected cases.

The total number of COVID-19 related deaths remained at 2,878.

The county also reported 79 individuals were hospitalized due to COVID-19 as of Monday, 24 of which were being treated in intensive care units.

Cameron County health officials reported three more deaths related to the coronavirus and 67 new cases.

The three deaths were of three Brownsville residents — two men, one in his 50s and one in his 60s, and a woman in her 60s.