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COVID-19 infections in the Rio Grande Valley may be higher than reported

4 months 2 weeks 2 days ago Thursday, March 18 2021 Mar 18, 2021 March 18, 2021 10:06 PM March 18, 2021 in News - Local

Research from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and the Texas Department of State Health Services found that between 14 to 24 percent of all Texans have COVID-19 antibodies.

This represents a bigger estimate than the state’s testing data, which shows COVID-19 has a less than 10% infection rate.

“It's likely that there was a great exposure - and continuing," said Dr. Melissa Valerio-Shewmaker, a faculty member at UTHealth School of Public Health in Brownsville.

The assessment was conducted between the six campuses of the UT Health School of Public Health, which included their Brownsville location.

The survey showed Cameron and Hidalgo counties have antibody rates that are more than double the state's average positivity rates.

Antibody survey rates:

  • CAMERON - 25.97%
  • HIDALGO - 20.27%
  • COUNTY'S AVERAGE - 23.12%
  • STATE AVERAGE - 9.64%   (DSHS)

Dr. Valerio-Shewmaker says the data is not all bad news as it's a useful tool as things head towards the new normal.

“This information is important so that it could possibly be used by city officials, by school districts and others to inform opening,” Dr. Valerio-Shewmaker said. “What we're hoping to do next is also look at what is the next step given the vaccine.”

Those hoping to participate in the survey can do so at go.uth.edu/txcares.

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