County: COVID-19 cases decreasing, threat not over


Although overall cases and hospitalizations from COVID-19 are seeing a steady decline across Cameron County, officials warn the public against complacency.

Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino and other health officials held a press conference last Friday, September 18, updating residents on COVID-19, the storm on the Gulf of Mexico, the return to school, and the 2020 Census.

Cameron County Health Authority Dr. James Castillo broke down the numbers for those present.

“Fortunately, there is a steady decrease around the average cases per day,” Castillo said. “If you take the average of the cases we’ve been reporting in the past week, it’s right around 60 per day. So we’re under that 100 per day threshold that I’ve been talking about, which means we’re on the right track.”

Still, he reiterated that the virus continues to linger.

“There are 106 people in the county hospitalized with COVID. That is a decrease. But on an average still about more than 15 percent of all hospitalized patients in the county are hospitalized with COVID,” Castillo said. “The governor started using 15 percent as a threshold to start easing restrictions that he’s imposed, so here in the Valley, compared to other places in Texas, we still have a significant number of people in the hospital.”

Castillo referred to Governor Greg Abbott’s announcement last Thursday loosening restrictions, which included allowing a 75 percent occupancy for restaurants. However, the Rio Grande Valley, along with Laredo and Victoria, are exempt from the new protocol, keeping the 50 percent occupancy in place. 

As of press time, Cameron County has 22,544 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 886 deaths and 19,647 recovered.

The same Friday as the conference, the county announced an extension of the current emergency management order, including facial coverings, curfew, shelter-in-place, and limits on large gatherings. The order was extended through October 19.

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