Hidalgo County COVID hospitalizations see jump this week

A nurse prepares a shot of COVID-19 vaccine at a community health center in Nantong in eastern China’s Jiangsu province on Dec. 9, 2022. The National Health Commission announced a campaign on Nov. 29 to raise the vaccination rate among older Chinese, which health experts say is crucial to avoiding a health care crisis. It’s also the biggest hurdle before the ruling Communist Party can lift the last of the world’s most stringent antivirus restrictions (Chinatopix Via AP)

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Hidalgo County jumped this week by more than 24%.

A total of 133 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Hidalgo County, officials reported Friday.

The patients included 115 adults and 18 children with 20 adults and four children in intensive care units.

The hospitalizations were a 24.3% increase from earlier this week when the county reported there were 107 total patients hospitalized with COVID.

Those 107 patients included 91 adults and 16 children. Of the adults, 19 were in the ICU.

In the entire Rio Grande Valley, it’s unclear how many people are currently hospitalized but the latest figures show there were 150 patients as of Tuesday, according to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Of the 150 patients, 115 were adults, with 27 adults in the ICU, and eight children.

As hospitalizations in Hidalgo County continue to increase, county health officials also reported 12 additional COVID-related deaths this week.

Of the deceased residents, five were unvaccinated and seven were not up to date on their vaccinations.

Hidalgo County health officials also reported 1,448 new cases this week, including 576 confirmed and 872 probable cases.

In Cameron County, three more of its residents died due to COVID-related complications, county officials reported on Friday. Their deaths raise the county’s total number of COVID-related deaths to 2,320.

Cameron County health officials also reported another 858 new cases this week which included 284 confirmed, 570 probable, and four self-reports.

The county is the only one in the entire Valley to have a high community level, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC deems a county to have a low, medium or high community level based on the risk of spreading COVID-19. The community level for each county is determined by hospital beds being used, hospital admissions and the number of new COVID-19 cases in the area over the last seven days.

Cameron County has a rate of 217 cases per 100,000 people and 18.4 COVID hospital admissions per 100,000 people, according to the CDC. Additionally, 6.4% of their staffed inpatient beds are in use by patients with COVID.

The rest of the Valley counties — Hidalgo, Starr, and Willacy — are at a medium community level.

Hidalgo County has a lower rate of about 197 cases per 100,000 population though it has 18.3 COVID hospital admissions per 100,000. Like Cameron, 6.4% of their staffed inpatient beds are in use by patients with COVID, according to the CDC.