COVID-19 kills 64 more people in Hidalgo County, the highest daily total since the pandemic started

2 years 8 months 3 days ago Tuesday, July 28 2020 Jul 28, 2020 July 28, 2020 9:26 PM July 28, 2020 in News - Local

Hidalgo County on Tuesday announced that 64 people had died "due to complications related to COVID-19" — the highest number of deaths reported on a single day since the coronavirus pandemic started.

Hurricane Hanna delayed the reporting of deaths on Sunday and Monday until Tuesday, which contributed to the high single-day number.

"Data reported by hospitals to county officials was delayed as a result of connectivity issues caused by Hurricane Hanna," according to a news release from Hidalgo County.

The people who died ranged from a woman in her 30s from McAllen to a man older than 70 from Weslaco.

Since the pandemic started, 16,088 people in Hidalgo County have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the news release. Of them, 7,450 remain in isolation. Another 8,107 have recovered. The remaining 531 people died.

“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 in a statement. “I continue to ask for you to take the necessary precautions for the safety of yourself and your loved ones.”

Hidalgo County released a separate statement Tuesday about how local health officials count the number of people who died after testing positive for COVID-19.

The statement reads:

"EDINBURG – A recent announcement by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) regarding fatalities due to COVID-19 has shown a difference in the numbers reported by the state and Hidalgo County. 

Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez and Health & Human Services Chief Administrative Officer Eddie Olivarez discussed the recent changes by DSHS and offer the following information:

As of Tuesday, July 28, 2020, Hidalgo County has reported 531 COVID-19 deaths due to complications related to COVID-19. Currently, the number of deaths reported by DSHS for Hidalgo County is 254 deaths.

As per the Texas Department of State Health Services press release posted on July 27, death certificates are being used 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 state receives the death certificates from the Vital Statistics department and uses that data to count the deaths. 

When COVID deaths are reported by Hidalgo County Health officials, it is 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. 

Residents who die from unrelated causes, such as a car accident, but were COVID-19 positive at the time of the event are not counted towards the county’s death totals. Residents from other counties who die in Hidalgo County hospitals are not counted in Hidalgo County deaths. They are counted in their respective county.

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."

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