Start of new school year a big reason for increase in Covid-19 cases, Hidalgo County health officials say

5 months 3 weeks 6 days ago Monday, August 28 2023 Aug 28, 2023 August 28, 2023 6:35 PM August 28, 2023 in News - Local

New numbers on COVID cases show a rise in Hidalgo County. Health officials say kids back in school have a lot to do with the rise.

The most recent numbers show 63 people are hospitalized with COVID, with 20 being pediatric cases. Health officials in Hidalgo County believe back to school is a big reason why.

It was the first day of school for students at PSJA Independent School District, and the district explained what they're doing to keep students safe.

"Kids will be kids. They touch everything, they hug people," grandparent Iris Lara said. "They can't help it, they are children."

Lara knows the difficulties of keeping kids healthy when they go back to school. She has five grandchildren who attend PSJA ISD schools.

With a recent spike in COVID cases in Hidalgo County, she is worried about her grandkids catching the virus. 

PSJA ISD Director of Health Services Sulema Solis says classrooms are frequently sanitized. Schools are also providing optional face coverings.

"We are providing free masks for our students and our staff. So anytime they request one, we have on for them," Solis said.

Wearing masks isn't something new, but it is a throwback Hidalgo County Health Authority Dr. Ivan Melendez recommends as a precaution.

"Regular masks are going to be helping significantly," Melendez said. "Ten days ago, we had 30 people in the hospital, and today we have 63 people in the hospital."

Of those cases, Melendez says 20 are children and two of them are in the ICU.

PSJA confirms while this was the first day back for kids, staff started earlier this month. So far, 10 have tested positive.

Melendez says to help keep kids stay safe, parents can teach their children to be aware of their space with others and avoid touching their eyes and face.

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