Willacy keeps COVID-19 cases down to 14

RAYMONDVILLE — Willacy County is holding steady with 14 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

Late Wednesday night, the state health department reported a man in his 50s had become the county’s 15th confirmed case of the COVID-19 virus.

But on Friday, health officials stated the man didn’t live in Willacy County.

“After a deep case investigation, the patient confirmed that they were living in another jurisdiction, not Willacy County, and they have been removed from Willacy County’s total case count,” Dr. Emilie Prot, Region 11’s medical director, stated in a press release.

Since May 6, officials haven’t confirmed a new COVID-19 case in this rural county with a population of about 22,000 residents.

Dr. Mario Sanchez, the county’s medical director, describes the county’s case numbers as “stable.”

Like Sanchez, Frank Torres, the county’s emergency management coordinator, said the county’s sparse population has helped keep case numbers down.

While the county lacks airports and other entry points which could result in travel-related cases, its few big stores cut residents’ chances of contracting the virus, Sanchez said.

Meanwhile, Sanchez said growing access to testing is turning up more positive results.

Earlier this month, the state health department conducted 100 tests, finding five people living outside of the county tested positive, Torres said.

Meanwhile, he said, local medical clinics have conducted 419 tests, finding 11 county residents testing positive. As a result, those patients’ cases have been included in the county’s total case count.

Like Sanchez, Raymondville Mayor Gilbert Gonzales said County Judge Aurelio Guerra’s orders that had closed down adult and children’s day care centers, limited adult motorists to one adult passenger and mandated the use of facial coverings helped prevent the spread of the virus.