Cameron County COVID-19 cases in the triple digits

By Gaige Davila 

Three weeks after Cameron County confirmed its first COVID-19 cases, there are now over a hundred residents with the novel coronavirus.  

As of this article’s printing, there are 147 cases in Cameron County. So far, three Cameron County residents have died: an 81-year-old man and a 91-year-old woman living at Veranda Nursing Home, and a 93-year-old woman at Windsor Atrium rehabilitation center.

The Harlingen-based nursing homes are both experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks: 38 people (16 employees, 22 residents) have tested positive at Veranda Nursing Home, including the two residents who died; and 18 people (8 employees, 10 residents) at Windsor Atrium rehabilitation center, including the one resident who has died.

On April 7, Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño ordered that if a person tests positive for COVID-19 in a long term care facility, such as Veranda Nursing Home, all mentally-competent residents must be notified, along with their families, and a public notice must be made 30 minutes after learning the test confirmation on the facility’s website and physically at the building’s entrance. 

From thereafter, all long term care facility staff must wear face masks and other personal protective equipment, like gloves, gowns, eye protection and face masks. The order also says no new residents can be admitted to the facility and no outpatient rehab can continue.

Twenty-three people have recovered from the virus, 212 have tested negative, and 105 tests results are pending. In total, 464 people have been tested for COVID-19 in the county, through state and private labs. 

Cameron County has monitored 319 residents who are self-isolating, clearing 122 with 197 still under the county’s watch. 

Forty-five people in Cameron County have recovered from COVID-19.

In an April 6 press conference, Treviño said Cameron County hospitals are not prepared for a COVID-19 outbreak and is expecting cases in the county to reach near a thousand in the coming weeks, based on the rate of positive cases the Cameron County Public Health department was confirming.

Treviño extended the county-wide shelter-in-place order to April 21, initially recommending that residents wear face coverings. Cities like Port Isabel and Brownsville had already required residents wear face masks when entering any public building and when outside. On April 9, Treviño announced in a press conference that face covering would be required county-wide starting Monday, April 13. 

County-wide, as of April 7, only two persons can travel in a vehicle, including the driver. No children under the age of 14 can go to grocery stores, county-wide, unless a person is unable to find supervision for them. Port Isabel instituted both of these restrictions on April 4, in effect until June 3. Cameron County’s order is effective until April 21.  

Treviño has not responded to the PRESS’ requests for comment. 

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