Hidalgo County Richard F. Cortez announced Friday the county was banning trick-or-treating this year in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Cortez stated in a news release issued Friday that his county-wide emergency order that was enacted to implement safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus was amended to prohibit the practice this Halloween.

“The death rate, hospitalizations and rate of infection continue, local medical experts say we are still not out of the woods with this disease,” Cortez said in a news release. “That is why I have asked our legal counsel to draft language amending my local health emergency order to forbid door-to-door trick-or-treating this year.”

“After reviewing Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, and consulting with health experts as well as local mayors, I do not want to expose our children to unnecessary risk as long as this infection continues to spread,” Cortez continued. “Several mayors have said they are coming up with alternative ways to celebrate Halloween this year.”

In addition to the Halloween announcement, officials reported 17 more deaths due to complications from COVID-19, raising the total number of fatalities to 1,841.

There were also 204 new confirmed cases of the disease in the county, bringing the total number to 33,352. Only 2,337 of those are active, the county reported.

Hidalgo County officials also reported there were 188 patients currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 and 67 of them are receiving care in intensive care units.

Cameron County health officials also reported two more COVID-related deaths — two women, one from Brownsville and one from San Benito, both between 40 and 49 years old. This raises the total number of coronavirus deaths there to 1,044.

The county also reported 138 new cases of the disease among their residents, but pointed out that 111 were previously unreported cases from April through July.

The total number of confirmed cases there is now at 23,312, but only 2,558 are considered active.

In Willacy County, officials reported two more confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease for a total of 1,192.

The two new patients are two men between the ages of 50 to 59 years old.