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Cameron County hospitals encourage continued use of face masks

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Christopher Romero, a physician advisor for Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen, still recalls when the coronavirus first appeared in the Rio Grande Valley one year ago. 

"We had tents set up to triage patients outside and it was just these individual isolated cases that we were initially seeing.” Romero said. “We had to have support come from outside. Entities including the military, healthcare for all these patients, and a lot of people got really sick and,  unfortunately, a lot of people in the Rio Grande Valley passed away from COVID-19…and I think for a lot of front line, healthcare workers, first responders, we have yet to have the time and distance to fully process what all we went through." 

RELATED: Cameron County reports 9 coronavirus-related deaths, 39 cases of COVID-19  

With the belief that the current COVID-19 protocols that include wearing facial coverings, social distancing and washing your hands work, the Harlingen Medical Center, Valley Baptist Health System and Valley Regional Medical Center have teamed up with the county and their respective cities to launch the "Cameron County Community Safety" initiative.

"And there's really good evidence behind the use of masks as one of the tools to help slow and prevent the spread of this disease,” Romero said. "Being able to protect those people that are still vulnerable and unvaccinated in our community is the reason why I will choose to continue to wear a mask until we have a much broader segment of the population being vaccinated and protected." 

And with spring break now just days away, Dr. Romero is advising everyone to continue doing their part by being responsible. 

"We will get to a point where we will have enough vaccinations in the community that things will start to look a whole lot like the normal days before COVID came around,” Romero said. “And I think we can still operate, we can still do the things that we need to have to have a functioning community. We just got to be smart about it."

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