Cameron County is seeing an increase of COVID-19 cases in the county and the increase involves younger people who are contracting the Delta Variant with the majority being unvaccinated.
County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. and health officials discussed this at a Monday morning press conference pertaining to COVID-19 in the county.
County Health Authority Dr. James Castillo said the current wave the county is experiencing arrived sooner than health authorities had expected.
“This just goes to prove that this virus can change and we need to change to keep up with it.”
Delta is about 90% of what is spreading in our community right now, Castillo said.
“It is spreading in younger people who think, who think they are healthy. They think they are healthy, but this just goes to show you think you are healthy but this virus can put you in the hospital,” Castillo said.
When COVID-19 first arrived in the county, it was the older generation who were getting sick and that were being hospitalized. It is now the younger people.
“The message right now is that if you think you are young and healthy this virus is going to prove you wrong, and when you get into the hospital it is really too late for us to do much about it,” Castillo said.
With schools set to open or already open in parts of the county, officials are urging parents to have their children wear face masks while in the classroom.
Trevino said the county is exploring its legal options for re-implementing mask mandates in county buildings and in schools as children return to the classroom despite orders from Gov. Greg Abbott against such mandates. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and the Dallas Independent School District have already implemented mask mandates in defiance of the governor, who maintains it should be individuals’ and parents’ choice.
“We’re reviewing the legal perspective with regard to the legal authority we still believe we have versus the order that has been sent down by the governor, just as we did with regard to (last year’s) mask mandate loophole,” Trevino said. “That’s what we’re looking at. I anticipate the commissioners court being able to act on it (Aug. 10) and definitely with regards to county buildings and a mask mandate. I understand the idea that we shouldn’t order personal responsibility. But if that was the case the law wouldn’t be necessary and everybody would do the right thing all the time, and we know that doesn’t happen.”
He said he has met with the county’s superintendents about the possibility of mandating that children wear masks in school, delaying school openings and offering the option of virtual learning.
“I think it’s critical, because we don’t want to lose lives,” Trevino said. “And knowing that our children under the age of 12 cannot be vaccinated at the moment, then we need to do everything we possibly can within our means to protect them, and that falls on the adults.”
“I know some have politicized masks, but masks work. We need to wear them when we are around each other in public, and when it comes to schools this should not be an option,” Castillo said.
Castillo and others urged residents to get vaccinated. The vaccines are free and available valleywide.