Local officials test positive as Hidalgo Co. records 147 new COVID-19 cases, 8 more deaths

Hidalgo County reported 147 new cases of COVID-19 and eight more deaths related to the virus Tuesday.

The new data brings the county to a total of 1,989 recorded deaths related to the outbreak and 37,031 recorded cases.

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Out of the county’s 2,558 active cases, 153 COVID-19 patients are being treated in hospitals, 64 of them in intensive care units.

“The nation is contending with record numbers of new cases each day,” county Judge Richard F. Cortez wrote in a statement. “We must deny this disease another chance for a surge in numbers in our community. Stay home. Stay away from crowds. There are eight more families mourning the loss of loved ones. My condolences go out to all of them.”

Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra announced the news that he had tested positive for COVID-19 in a Facebook post Tuesday.

“Despite taking all the precautionary and recommended health and safety measures, I started feeling feverish over the weekend and tested positive for COVID-19,” the sheriff wrote in a Facebook post. “Thankfully, my symptoms are mild and I am already feeling better. I am isolating and working from home and I’m confident that I will get through this.”

Guerra wrote that all sheriff’s office operations and duties would continue as normal under the direction of his staff.

“I appreciate everyone’s well-wishes for a speedy recovery, and urge everyone to exercise extreme caution and do your part to follow the health and safety guidelines to prevent and protect yourselves and others from COVID-19. Stay safe and God bless,” he wrote.

The city of Mercedes announced changes for mayor-elect Oscar Montoya’s swearing-in ceremony following his positive COVID-19 test Saturday, writing in the release that the municipality would hold a virtual swearing in ceremony for him.

“As is customary, the Mercedes Special Meeting will be live-streamed through its Facebook social media platform,” a release from the city read.

Montoya is also a division chief with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office. He discussed the positive results in a video posted to Facebook on Saturday, saying he had allergy symptoms and had been quarantined at home since Thursday.

He encouraged watchers to take the pandemic seriously and asked for prayers in the video.

“This thing is still alive and well. It’s out there,” Montoya said.