Hidalgo and Starr county officials reported a combined 387 new cases of COVID-19 with Hidalgo County reporting 64 COVID-19 related deaths, a new single day record of fatalities reported, the county said Tuesday.
With the news deaths on Hidalgo County, the death toll climbed to 531 as 339 new people tested positive for the virus, bringing the total number of known positive cases to 16,088, according to a news release from the county.
The high death toll numbers reflect the delayed reporting of data from Sunday and Monday which was delayed as a result of connectivity issues caused by Hurricane Hanna.
“I am saddened by the passing of our Hidalgo County residents. My prayers and thoughts go out to their families,” Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez said. “I continue to ask for you to take the necessary precautions for the safety of yourself and your loved ones.”
In a separate statement released by the county Tuesday, the county explained COVID deaths are reported by Hidalgo County Health officials through medical records sent by the hospital and health care providers to the county. Health officials review the information to verify that the resident died due to COVID-19 and assess if contributing factors, such as cardiovascular disease, morbid obesity, diabetes and pulmonary failure, may also be associated with the death.
Despite the county death count of 53, the Texas Department of Health and Human services is reporting 254 total deaths.
The county explained death certificates are being used by DSHS to report fatalities by date of death.
“However, due to normal procedures and unique circumstances faced during this pandemic, delays in the issuance of death certificates by the Vital Statistics department may exist which is causing the difference in reporting of numbers by the state and county, “the county added. “The state receives the death certificates from the Vital Statistics department and uses that data to count the deaths…The announcement by DSHS was made without consulting Hidalgo County Health & Human Services. Hidalgo County reports deaths as they are reported to us, if we are advised to report the numbers in a different manner we will make the necessary changes. ”
There are 7,450 net active cases and 373 people were released from isolation on Tuesday meaning that they have been symptom-free for 10 days, including three days without a fever. A total of 8,107 people have been cleared to be released from isolation.
883 people remain hospitalized in area hospitals with 228 of those patients being treated in intensive care units.
Starr County reported no new deaths Tuesday but did see 46 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the county total of known cases to 1,913.
554 patients have recovered from the virus as 1,346 people are recovering under medical care. The county COVID19 death count remains at 22 as the county awaits state confirmation on 34 other COVID-19 fatalities.