The Rio Grande Valley reported its first travel-related coronavirus case Thursday evening. This comes on the same day Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the temporary closing of schools, restaurant dining areas, gyms and bars statewide.
A 21-year-old man from Rancho Viejo tested positive for COVID-19 after traveling to Spain and Ireland from March 5-12. He began feeling the coronavirus symptoms of fever and cough and then went to Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen on Wednesday. Cameron County Public Health received laboratory confirmation on Thursday that the patient has the virus.
An epidemiological investigation is now underway to identity others who may have been exposed and test individuals showing signs and symptoms. The announcement of the Valley’s first travel-related COVID-19 case came after Gov. Gregg Abbott issued an executive order affecting schools, restaurants and other facilities. It encourages social distancing in trying to contain the virus.
The governor’s order will continue until at least April 3.
McAllen, Diocese take actions to curb COVID-19
In McAllen, Mayor Jim Darling announced a new order now in effect. It places stringent requirements on restaurants and bars. The mayor’s order goes beyond the governor’s directive in that McAllen will not allow restaurants to use reusable glassware or straws of any type. Disposable utensils and serving dishes must be used in the city.
Darling also suspended conditional use permits for businesses designated as bars. The mayor also ordered movie theaters and churches to limit attendance to less than 10 people. McAllen’s latest coronavirus-related directives come a day after Bishop Daniel Flores of the Diocese of Brownsville suspended all public celebrations of Mass and other church events until further notice.
“These severe actions are taken with great sorrow, but they are needed in my judgment for the sake of protecting lives,” the bishop said at a press conference.