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Hidalgo County seeing increase in COVID-related cases

2 months 1 week 6 days ago Tuesday, February 06 2024 Feb 6, 2024 February 06, 2024 12:58 PM February 06, 2024 in News - Local

Health officials are encouraging people to get vaccinated as they see a rise in people getting sick with COVID-19.

"Number one, this isn't over. Of course, we're not in a pandemic anymore, but it's become endemic. That is to say that it looks like COVID is here and not going anywhere," Hidalgo County Health Authority Dr. Ivan Melendez said.

Hidalgo County released its latest COVID-19 numbers on Friday. More than 4,100 people tested positive for the virus last month, and at least seven people died due to complications from the disease.

While the virus is nothing like it was at the height of the pandemic, health experts are still seeing an increase in cases.

Dr. Melendez says every six months, there are different COVID strains that can infect people a lot easier.

It's been almost four years since the first COVID case was reported in the United States, and doctors still don't have a cure.

"One of the biggest problems that we've seen, to be honest...is that it's fascinating how cavalier people have become about being infected. They're still going to work, even though they know that they're infected, instead of staying home for five days after symptoms are resolved, they're still going to work. And infecting other people who, in turn, infect other people who are at high risk at home," Melendez said.

He says a lot of the advice is the same as it was during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are sick, stay home and try to isolate yourself from others. The best thing to do right now is get vaccinated.

Dr. Melendez says only 17 percent of residents in Hidalgo County are vaccinated.

"It appears during the last three years that the circulating antibodies that are deemed to be effective is only about 10 months. So quite frankly, if it's been more than 10 months since you've been vaccinated, or you've had the disease, it's probably time to get a booster," Melendez said.

Experts say patients who are diabetic, obese and hypertensive are at a higher risk of getting COVID-19.  There is no guarantee that a vaccine will prevent you from getting infected.

Dr. Melendez says one thing we learned during the pandemic is the stronger your immune system is, the better chances you have of fighting the virus.

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 or are showing symptoms, get yourself tested as soon as possible.

Dr. Melendez says to report your positive test to the county and make sure you isolate from others until you test negative.

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