County infection rate exceeds metro areas


Last Friday’s Cameron County press conference exposed some distressing figures but some encouraging statistics as well.

Camer County Health Authority Dr. James Castillo compared the County’s rate of infection with New York City, which peaked in March and April. Around three percent of their population was confirmed infected, Castillo said, and here, it is worse.

“As of today, here in Cameron county, over four percent of the population has been confirmed by PCR testing of having been infected by COVID-19,” Castillo said, noting that New York City saw 3,000 people infected per 100,000. “Here in Cameron County, we now have over 4,100 confirmed infections per 100,000 residents…Everything that we’ve seen, to put it in a national perspective, is we’ve gotten hit harder than New York. That’s why we’ve had to take such drastic action.”

Castillo noted, however, that New York City took even more drastic action by shutting down completely. He conjured the images of empty streets in NYC at the beginning of the pandemic in March and April and contrasting that to what we see here: more open businesses and places of employment.

“And here we are in the middle of this pandemic that’s affecting our community, and we’re not shut down; we’re open, and that’s why you see us so concerned for our residents here. Everybody now knows somebody who’s lost a loved one. It didn’t have to be that way,” he said.

When a reporter asked Castillo during the press conference to respond to those who said his claims comparing the County to New York City were alarmist, Castillo responded that the numbers prove his claims.

“Right now, we still have 60 to 80 people on ventilators. These people are taking a long time to get better, and a lot of them may not. The number of hospitalizations is down. We’re much smaller than New York, but the numbers turned out that in terms of proven infections, to this day, we have 25 percent more than those counties near New York City here in Cameron County.”

Furthermore, Castillo pointed to the larger counties infected in Texas. Harris County saw 1.8 percent of its population infected, whereas Bear county saw 2.1 percent infected. Cameron County was over four percent infected.

Editor’s note: This article has been edited for length. To read the full story, click here or grab a copy of the Aug. 21– 27, 2020 issue of the NEWS.

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