COVID hospitalizations continue to rise
Two of the Rio Grande Valley's top health officials expressed concern about the rise of COVID-19 hospitalizations and cases in their counties.
"The hospitals have noticed an increase of maybe about 25 to 50 percent over the past week," Cameron County Health Authority Dr. James Castillo Dr. Castillo said.
Hidalgo County Health Authority Dr. Ivan Melendez said there were around 40 COVID hospitalizations in the area last week.
"Unfortunately, we're back over 100,” Dr. Melendez said. “We have 102 people hospitalized in Hidalgo County which of course is heartbreaking and very disheartening."
Data from the Department of State Health Services shows 81% of people over the age of 65 are fully vaccinated in Cameron County. In Hidalgo County, 82% of people over the age of 65 are fully vaccinated in Cameron County.
That percentage is lower for those between the ages of 12 and 64 with 67% and 65% in Cameron County and Hidalgo County, respectively.
More than 90% of the new cases are in people who have not been vaccinated.
"People in the valley were dying of COVID at more than twice the rate than the rest of the country so hopefully because we're ahead on the vaccination that we won't see that kind of death rate going forward,” Dr. Castillo said.
The Fourth of July holiday, large summer camps, people traveling and the number of people still not vaccinated are all behind the increase. And as the Delta variant continues its dominance - doctors say now isn't the time to let your guard down.
"The vaccine is far, far, far safer than taking your chances with this illness,” Dr. Castillo said. “Just because people have avoided it so far, doesn't mean they're going to be able to continue avoiding it going forward."
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