Six more Willacy residents test positive for COVID-19

RAYMONDVILLE — About a week after a COVID-19 outbreak shattered weeks boasting low cases numbers, state health officials are reporting six more Willacy County residents have tested positive for the coronavirus, driving this rural area’s total case count to 1,203.

However, Frank Torres, the county’s emergency management coordinator, said he didn’t have enough details to determine whether the cases could stem from the outbreak which led to about 20 new cases coming out of Raymondville City Hall, the sheriff’s department and the county tax office.

“That’s the way this virus works — it just blows up,” Torres said.

Now, Torres is warning of an uptick in cases as COVID-19 surges in El Paso and across much of the United States.

“Texas is one of the states where we’re seeing a spike,” he said. “Unfortunately, we’re going to continue see the numbers going up.”

Outbreak

Earlier this month, Raymondville Mayor Gilbert Gonzales and Municipal Judge Felicita Gutierrez tested positive for the virus along with Raymondville schools Deputy Superintendent Ben Clinton.

At City Hall, two or three employees also tested positive, Gonzales said, leading health officials to order the building closed until Nov. 2.

Meanwhile, 11 employees working at the sheriff’s department also tested positive, leading county officials to close its front offices.

“The virus is still here and it’s very infectious,” Torres said. “It relies on us letting our guard down and that’s what we’ve done.”

Torres urged residents to follow federal safety guidelines to control the virus’ spread.

On Monday, state health officials reported six new COVID-19 cases among patients including a woman 30 to 39 years old, a man and woman 40 to 49 years old, a man 50 to 59 years old and two women 60 to 69 years old.

For weeks, COVID-19 cases have been dropping across the Rio Grande Valley and much of Texas after a dramatic late spring and summer surge.

But late last week, Texas was added to a list of 39 states in which new COVID-19 cases are climbing, Torres said.

fdelvalle@valleystar.com