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'Another wave coming': Cameron County officials urge vaccinations as Delta variant expected in Rio Grande Valley

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Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino and local health officials are urging residents, especially younger age groups, to get vaccinated to protect against COVID-19, including the highly contagious Delta variant that is expected to make its way to the Rio Grande Valley.

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While almost 68% of people have been vaccinated in Cameron County, Health Authority Dr. James Castillo said historical data shows that the Valley can expect to see Delta variant cases begin to show up within the next two months.

"The take-home there is, that's not herd immunity," Dr. Castillo said. "You cannot rely on everybody else around you being vaccinated to stay away from Delta."

Officials say there's been a slight increase in COVID-19 cases in the county and are urging all those who haven't been vaccinated to do so.

Hospital leaders from across the county like Harlingen Medical Center CEO Matt Wolthoff and Valley Baptist Health System CEO Manny Vela say they're prepared for a surge but do not expect one because vaccination efforts are working. 

Still, Castillo says that with or without a surge, the vaccine's ability to prevent hospitalizations and severe illness from COVID-19, including the Delta variant, means nothing if people don't protect themselves. 

"From the past few months forward," Castillo said. "Every death from COVID has been preventable."

If you have any questions, you can reach out to the Cameron County Public Health hotline at 956-247-3650 or the Emergency Management Center at 547-7000.

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