At least 50% of the patients admitted in the hospital’s emergency room have tested positive for Covid-19, Dr. Jose Vasquez, the county’s health authority, said in a news conference earlier this week.
“The situation is desperate,” he said.
This rural South Texas county began seeing an increase in positive cases about a month ago, Vasquez said, and the hospital admitted its first Covid-19 patient at that time.
The hospital quickly filled the eight beds in its Covid-19 unit, so it expanded to 17 and then 29 beds, Vasquez said. About 33 medical workers, including medical practitioners and lab technicians, were deployed by the state to assist the hospital.
Vasquez said it was a difficult decision to start reviewing the cases but with limited resources, officials have to consider who has a *the best chance* of survival.
“Those patients who most certainly don’t have any hope of improving, we believe they are better taken care of within their own family in the love of their own home rather than thousands of miles away, dying in a hospital room alone,” Vasquez said.
At least 40 new coronavirus cases were reported on Thursday in Starr County, bringing the county’s total to 1,701. There have been 17 deaths linked to the virus and 32 others are pending state confirmation, local health officials said.
“When we talk about people who have died in our community, we are talking about uncles, cousins, siblings, a coworker, a relative,” Vasquez said. “We are talking about people who had a close relationship with any of us one way or another.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Sunday that five US Navy teams were being deploying to South Texas to help combat the spread of the virus.
The county’s order is set to remain in place until August 10 and requires residents to shelter at home, including those who live in hotels, motels and shared rentals.
A mandatory curfew was also issued…