Newborn dies due to COVID-19 in Hidalgo County

Among the 11 deaths reported in Hidalgo County on Thursday was a newborn who contracted COVID-19 at birth, the county’s health authority Dr. Ivan Melendez said. 

According to Melendez, an unvaccinated woman who also tested positive for the virus gave birth to a baby girl; the newborn contracted COVID-19 at birth and was 11 days old when she died due to the virus.

During the development of COVID-19 vaccines, pregnant and lactating women were excluded from initial clinical trials due to the possibility of putting an unborn fetus at risk, Dr. Teresa Baker told the Texas Tribune, adding that due to lack of initial information of how the virus affects pregnant people and mixed guidance by the CDC and medical organizations, many pregnant people “felt left in the dark about the best way to protect themselves.” 

On June 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added pregnant individuals to its list of those at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness; a CDC report released on the same day found about 9% of lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in women of reproductive age.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine recommended the COVID-19 vaccine to those who are pregnant on July 30; citing that vaccinations in tens of thousands of pregnant individuals over the past several months have shown the shots are safe during pregnancy.

In addition to pregnant people, the CDC also recommends for people who breastfeed, are trying to get pregnant now or may become pregnant in the future to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

“What is riskier, the virus or the vaccine,” Melendez said as he urged pregnant individuals to get vaccinated.

Including Thursday, there have been a total of six COVID-related pediatric deaths in Hidalgo County, all who were girls, Melendez said.

Other deaths reported Thursday in Hidalgo County, all who were unvaccinated, included two men in their 30s, two people in their 40s, four people in their 50s and two men in their 60s, increasing the county’s COVID-19 death toll to 3,285.

The county also faced a decrease in positive cases as officials reported 383 people tested positive for the virus Thursday, a notable difference from Wednesday’s 599 cases.

Of the 383 cases reported by the Hidalgo County Health and Human Services Department on Thursday, 71 were confirmed, 308 probable and four were suspected. 

However, 250 of the 383 positive cases reported, or 65%, consisted of people 19 or younger. Youth 11 or younger made up 150 of the 250 cases, while people younger than 19, but older than 12 were the remaining 100 cases.

The next age group that trailed behind were adults in their 40s with 32 cases.

The county also noted 27 of the 383 cases are students and three are school employees.

Hidalgo County does not include in their COVID statistics whether people who test positive for the virus are vaccinated. The county continues to track cases in schools, with a total of 1,735 students and 541 school staff testing positive since Aug. 18.

Hospitalizations continue to decline this week as officials reported a total of 222 people are in Hidalgo County hospitals, the majority being adults with the exception of 16 children. 

On Thursday, there were 105 patients in intensive care units, all adults except for four children. 

In contrast, Hidalgo County reported 262 hospitalizations, with 111 patients in ICUs at the start of the week, followed by 251 hospitalizations on Tuesday, with 102 patients in ICUs. Then, officials reported 237 hospitalizations on Wednesday, with 102 patients in ICUs.

Hidalgo County also reported the Texas Division of Emergency Management has administered monoclonal antibody infusion treatments to 710 people at the Regional Infusion Center that opened at DHR Health in Edinburg on Aug. 27.

The county’s case tally is 114,138, of which 67,615 were confirmed, 44,089 probable and 2,434 suspected, with 2,101 cases reported active.

Additionally, the county reported 426 people were released from isolation Thursday, raising that total to 108,752. 

As of Thursday, a total of 647,402 COVID-19 tests had been administered in Hidalgo County, with 532,423 results returning negative. 

Hidalgo County uses the case status definitions provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services’ 2020 Epi Case Criteria Guide:

>> Confirmed cases are those who tested positive through a molecular or PCR (oral or nasal swabs) test that looks for the presence of the virus’s genetic material;

>> Probable cases are those who meet presumptive laboratory evidence through detection of COVID-19 by antigen test in a respiratory specimen;

>> Suspect cases are those who meet supported laboratory evidence through detection of specific antibodies in serum, plasma, whole body and no prior history of being confirmed or probable case.

In Cameron County, officials reported five COVID-related deaths and 94 more cases of the virus Thursday.

The youngest among the deaths was a San Benito woman in her 30s. Others included a San Benito woman in her 50s, a Harlingen man in his 60s, a Harlingen man in his 70s and a Los Fresnos man in his 80s.

According to officials, all of the COVID-related deaths were unvaccinated; increasing the death toll in Cameron County to 1,895.

Of the 94 cases reported Thursday, Cameron County officials noted 20 were from facilities housing unaccompanied minors and detention centers.

All of the cases were people younger than 19, but older than 10 with the exception of five children nine or younger.

The remaining 74 cases reported in Cameron County outside the facilities were led by adults in their 30s with 18 cases. Young adults in their 20s were the next group with 15 cases. People younger than 19, but older than 12 trailed behind with 12 cases.

As of Thursday, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Cameron County was 51,725.

Additionally, the county also reported 75 people recovered from the virus on Thursday, increasing that total to 47,388.

As for Cameron County’s vaccination efforts, officials said 79.21% of their 12 and older population are fully vaccinated, with 92.48% receiving at least one dose.

The county also reported that 85.30% of their 65 and older population are fully vaccinated, with 93.26% receiving at least one dose.