Hidalgo County officials urge parents to vaccinate their children

6 months 3 days 21 hours ago Tuesday, July 20 2021 Jul 20, 2021 July 20, 2021 9:02 AM July 20, 2021 in News - Local

With the number of COVID hospitalizations rising and the new school year drawing closer, officials with Hidalgo County and Hidalgo ISD met on Tuesday to share a message to parents in the county.

We urge parents to vaccinate their children,” Hidalgo County Health Authority Dr. Ivan Melendez said.

Officials reported there are 128 people battling COVID in Hidalgo County hospitals. That number was at 40 last week.

"If you're unvaccinated, you're the population that's keeping this alive,” Melendez said. “It's not that it's your fault, but the truth of the matter is, it's only living in you." 

With more than 12% of county hospital beds being used by COVID patients, Melendez says he expects the virus will keep mutating.

Hidalgo ISD Superintendent Xavier Salinas said even though they've taken numerous safety precautions, he feels as if their hands are tied due to Gov. Abbott's executive order which prevents school districts from requiring masks on campus.

"They are creating a perfect storm for a huge outbreak of COVID in our hospitals from 3 to 11 year olds,” Salinas said. “Masks, they do work and masks are so essential to the school system. I as superintendent of schools of Hidalgo ISD know better than what the governor is doing because I'm in the trenches every day. I'm around the kids every day. Give us the flexibility to make the decision for our schools, our community, our county."

Hidalgo County health officials said there are currently four kids are hospitalized with COVID. Between 15 to 20 percent of children over the age of 11 have been vaccinated so far, but officials said that's not enough. 

On Monday, the American Academy Of Pediatrics strongly recommended the universal use of masks in schools in part because a significant population of students - those under 12 - still aren't eligible for the vaccine.    

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