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Hidalgo County confirms first coronavirus case

7 months 2 days 22 hours ago Saturday, March 21 2020 Mar 21, 2020 March 21, 2020 8:47 PM March 21, 2020 in News

Hidalgo County on Saturday night confirmed its first case of the coronavirus.

"The person lives in the McAllen area of Hidalgo County and local authorities in that area have also been alerted," according to a news release from Hidalgo County. "Health officials have ordered the person into home isolation and have begun the process of retracing the person’s whereabouts over the past several weeks to determine who else has been in contact with the person."

It wasn't immediately clear how the person contracted the virus.

Hidalgo County announced the news at about 9:30 p.m. Saturday. The news release read:

Hidalgo County has its first case of a person testing positive for COVID-19, Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez announced Saturday night.

Hidalgo County health officials were immediately alerted to the positive test and, in turn, alerted Judge Cortez. The person’s name has not been released because of federal privacy laws, Judge Cortez said. The person lives in the McAllen area of Hidalgo County and local authorities in that area have also been alerted.

Health officials have ordered the person into home isolation and have begun the process of retracing the person’s whereabouts over the past several weeks to determine who else has been in contact with the person.

“We knew this day was coming and we are prepared,” Judge Cortez said.

Under emergency protocol, Judge Cortez ordered the Hidalgo County Division of Emergency Management to go into a Level 1 Operational status, the county’s highest.

Anticipating that someone would contract the coronavirus in Hidalgo County, Judge Cortez declared a state of disaster on March 17 and ordered no mass gatherings in the county as of that date. Two days later, he ordered that all restaurants, bars and private clubs stop any in-dining service and that gatherings be limited to no more than 10 people.

An Emergency Operation Center has already been activated where county health, law enforcement and emergency management officials are working in concert from a single command center to mitigate the spread of the disease and provide essential services related to any collateral effects from the global pandemic.

“This is a highly contagious disease and residents should not be surprised — or alarmed — that others in Hidalgo County will likely contract the virus,” Judge Cortez said. “The best thing you can do is stay home."


Check back for updates.

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