Lives lost to COVID-19 to be displayed on billboards

11 more die due to virus; cases grow by 788 in RGV

Hidalgo County announced six additional COVID-19 related deaths and 411 new cases of the virus Monday.

The deaths include two men and a woman over the age of 70 from Edinburg, a man in his 60s from McAllen, a woman in her 60s from Mission, and a man over the age of 70 from Pharr. The county’s death toll now stands at 2,160.

Monday’s numbers were announced on the same day that the county launched its new billboard campaign honoring those who have died due to the virus.

Before Thanksgiving, Hidalgo County residents were asked to submit photos of departed loved ones for the campaign. They will be depicted on billboards throughout the county and in a slideshow on the county’s website and various social media outlets. 

“This is one of the most powerful images that I’ve seen resulting from the pandemic,” Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez said in a news release. “This is a reminder to hold those we love even closer, especially as the holidays approach.”

The billboards will be located at U.S. Expressway 83 East of Bridge Street in Weslaco; U.S. Expressway 281 North of Business 281 in Edinburg; and Expressway 83 West of 29th Street in McAllen.

Cortez, who tested positive for the virus recently, continued to urge social distancing amid the Christmas holiday.

“Our continued message is not to gather in large groups, wear a face covering and social distance,” Cortez said. “But have a blessed Christmas in honor of those lives depicted in this billboard.”

In accordance with the Texas Department of State Health Service’s 2020 Epi Case Criteria Guide, the county’s new cases were sorted into three categories: confirmed, probable and suspect.

Of the county’s 411 new cases, 250 were confirmed, 134 were probable and 27 were suspect. The new cases raise the county’s total to 48,715, of which 34,380 are confirmed, 13,596 are probable and 739 are suspect.

There are currently 240 people in county hospitals with COVID-19 related complications, of which 81 are in intensive care units.

The county announced that 319 people were released from isolation over the weekend, raising that total to 43,748.

There are 2,807 net active cases in Hidalgo County.

The county has administered 287,906 COVID-19 tests, and 238,376 have had negative results.

ELSEWHERE IN THE VALLEY

Cameron County confirmed five additional COVID-19 related deaths and 361 new cases of the virus.

All five deaths were residents of Brownsville. They include women in their 20s, 40s, 70s and 80s, and a man over 90.

The deaths raise the county’s death toll to 1,164.

Of the 361 new cases, 156 were from Brownsville, 90 were from Harlingen, and 55 were from San Benito. The total number of confirmed cases in Cameron County climbed to 28,613.

Additionally, 138 people have recovered from the virus, raising that total to 24,807.

Willacy County confirmed 16 additional cases of COVID-19 Monday, raising the total number of cases there to 1,514.