Hospitals on alert as COVID cases surge

Pictured is Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen. The hospital has seen a surge in hospitalizations from COVID-19 cases and is dedicating further resources to combat the spike.
(Photo by David Lopez)


Cameron County is on high alert after the latest increase in COVID-19 infections, almost 100 new cases every day, according to Cameron County Public Health.

County Judge Eddie Treviño, accompanied by local hospital administrators, held a press conference last Friday where he said the surge in coronavirus cases is overwhelming local hospitals.

“We were at 699 [cases] on May 19, and now we’re going to hit 2,000. That’s four times in one month,” said Treviño.

The situation reached such a crisis that on Tuesday, Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation suspending elective surgeries at hospitals in Cameron, Hidalgo, Nueces, and Webb counties to help ensure hospital bed availability for COVID-19 patients.

This move amends the Governor’s previous Executive Order to include these four counties in addition to Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties.

Healthcare providers of Cameron County hospitals banded together last Friday in an open letter to the community, urging them to practice the three actions that will result in preventing the spread of COVID-19: wearing face masks, social distancing, and washing their hands frequently.

“The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Cameron County has quadrupled in the past two weeks and we are deeply concerned,” read the letter, which represented four major hospitals in Cameron County: Valley Regional Medical Center, Harlingen Medical Center, and Valley Baptist Medical Centers in both Brownsville and Harlingen.

“The age range of those hospitalized with COVID-19 includes all ages, with an increasing number of young adults and children requiring hospitalization and not just those that are already critically ill,” continued the letter.

Editor’s note: This article has been edited for length. To read the full story, click here or make sure to grab a copy of the July 3-9, 2020 issue of the NEWS.

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