The amount of COVID-19 cases in Hidalgo County now stands at 79 after 17 more people have tested positive for it. the county announced Thursday.
Health experts are saying this is evidence that community spread has begun, Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez.
Hidalgo County epidemiologists, who investigate all COVID-19 cases, had concluded that most of the earlier positive cases could likely be traced to travel in infected areas. But more recent cases suggest that clusters of new cases can now be traced to those people who had tested positive earlier.
“It’s the natural evolution of the disease,” said Dr. Ivan Melendez, the Hidalgo County health authority. “That’s why it is so important to stay home now. What we do today will be reflected over the next ten days to two weeks.”
Officials have been able to track as many as eight people who had direct contact with earlier infected patients, said Eddie Olivarez, Chief Administrator for Hidalgo County’s Health and Human Services.
“We are now seeing more cases because we are looking more,” Olivarez said.
Each of the 17 people who learned of a positive test on Thursday were ordered to self-isolate in their homes. A total of 10 people from earlier cases required hospitalization within the last 24 hours. Three of them have been discharged indicating their condition has improved, health officials said. The mayors where each of the patients live have been notified.
“These growing numbers have long been expected by health experts,” Cortez said. “The same health experts have consistently said that the best way to protect yourself from this disease is to stay home and practice good hygiene.”
Judge Cortez also noted in the release that another four children have tested positive bringing the total number of children who are four years old and under to six. “
This is one of the most distressing statistic,” Cortez said. “We need to be especially mindful of our children and our elderly by keeping them at home and away from others.”
Those who tested positive include: