Starr County began offering drive-through coronavirus testing on Sunday while Cameron and Hidalgo counties saw their number of COVID-19 cases grow over the weekend.
The first coronavirus-confirmed patient in Hidalgo County is from McAllen. The second also resides in the county, but health officials did not state in which city the patient lives. Both patients were infected away from the Rio Grande Valley before returning home and showing symptoms. Cameron County, meanwhile, reported four additional cases over the weekend, bringing the county’s total to six.
“We anticipated this situation and, therefore, we urge our citizens to simply continue with the steps we have already recommended,” McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said. “We will get through this together.”
All of the coronavirus cases in the Valley thus far are travel related.
“We should not be surprised or alarmed that we have a second confirmed case,” Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortes said Sunday. “This is a highly contagious disease and health experts are telling me that we should expect more positive cases. The best way to protect yourselves is to stay home.”
The Cameron County cases thus far are residents from Brownsville, Harlingen and Rancho Viejo.
In Starr County, the testing began on Sunday at a drive-through location at South Texas College in Rio Grande City. Test results are available within 24 hours for anyone taking the tests. A doctor’s referral is a prerequisite for testing.
“In our community, we are going to be a step ahead,” Dr. Jose Vazquez, the president of the Starr County Memorial Hospital Board told KRGV-TV. “It is a lot better to know what we are facing than to be in the darkness.”
Sam Vale, the owner of the Starr-Camargo Bridge Company, is covering the cost of the mobile testing facility for the first month of its services.