64 new cases in Valley; 26 in Hidalgo Co.

Mission police officers also test positive for COVID-19

EDINBURG — Hidalgo County confirmed an additional 26 cases Monday evening, one of whom is a county employee who works with the Health and Human Services Department.

According to a county news release, the employee was on leave when they tested positive. The employee was not in contact with the public when infected.

The new cases bring the total to 759 in Hidalgo County, 38 of which are hospitalized with two in intensive care units.

The number of positives is the result of over 23,000 tests that have been administered here, of which 324 are still active.

“We appreciate the State’s help with testing,” Judge Richard F. Cortez wrote in the release. “The numbers are rising, in part, because of increased testing. But that’s only part of the equation. People need to know that they can still be infected if they don’t follow safety guidelines like avoiding crowds and practicing good hygiene.

According to the release, the state will be conducting free walk-in COVID-19 testing from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily for the rest of the week. Testing will be conducted at the San Juan Community Resource center on Tuesday, Granjeno City Hall on Wednesday, Isaac D. Rodriguez Park in Weslaco on Thursday, Tabasco Elementary in La Joya on Friday, and the La Villa Youth Center on Saturday.

The testing does not require an appointment or pre-registration.

Three police officers in Mission also tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement released by the city Monday.

The officers have been directed to self-quarantine and the city is taking steps to notify anyone who may have been in contact with them.

“We have notified everyone that was in direct contact with the three officers, and have asked them to self-quarantine. All three are isolated cases, the virus did not spread from one officer to another,” Chief Robert Dominguez said. “We are taking every precautionary measure possible to safeguard officers and employees here at the police department. Our number one priority is their health and safety.”

The release goes on to state that the department has begun deep cleaning its facilities, using germ-fighting electronic misters — an electrostatic sprayer — and increasing the numbers of hand-washing signs and hand-sanitizing stations throughout the station.

Employees are being required to social distance and wear facemasks in common areas.

Cameron County confirmed 27 new positive cases late Monday night, raising the total there to 919. Of those cases, 645 are listed as recoveries.

According to a release from the county, the new cases reported include 15 women and a dozen men ranging in age from 11 to 81 and residing in Brownsville, Harlingen, La Feria, Los Fresnos, San Benito and Santa Rosa.

Starr County reported one additional case of COVID-19 Monday evening, bringing the total there to 61. Of those cases, 33 are still active.

The new case is that of an 18-year-old woman, according to Dr. Jose Vazquez, the county’s public health authority.

In addition, Willacy County’s tally of coronavirus cases increased to 42 on Monday after it received confirmation of an additional 10 positives, according to a Department of State Health Services news release.

The cases include nine men and one woman, ranging in age from their teens to their 50s.

“The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Public Health Region 11 and Willacy County continue to work together against COVID-19,” Regional Medical Director Emilie Prot wrote in the statement. “We are vigilant and reporting results for COVID-19 in the region. We are also working together to educate and promote social distancing and staying at home.”

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct the amount of cases in the Valley.