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A recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Hidalgo County is being attributed to the opening of schools in the region, according to a news release from the county.

The Hidalgo County Health and Human Services Department reported a total of 63 people in hospitals receiving treatment for COVID-19, including 43 adults and 20 children. Those cases include eight adults and two children who are in intensive care units.

A week prior, there were a total of 47 people hospitalized — 33 adults and 14 children.

In the news release, the county said that the growing number of COVID-19 cases correlates with the beginning of the new school year.

“As our children return to school, we must all be mindful that COVID remains active in our community and remains dangerous,” Hidalgo County Health and Human Services’ Chief Administrative Officer Eddie Olivarez said in the news release. “We urge everyone to take the necessary precautions.”

County health experts are encouraging the public to get the COVID-19 booster as well as the COVID Monovalent Vaccine, which should be available in late September or early October.

Anyone who is symptomatic, especially with a fever, should see their physician and get medically assessed.

The county also wants the public to remember to wash hands frequently and sanitize work surfaces.

Anyone with weakened immune systems, as well as elderly individuals, are advised to limit travel, avoid densely populated areas such as airports, concert venues, or enclosed or confined areas. The immune compromised and the elderly are also encouraged to wear a facemask if in densely populated areas.

The county is also encouraging the public to get the flu vaccine and the RSV vaccine when it is available in October.