Hidalgo County will be opening its first COVID-19 vaccine clinic, which will begin distributing doses to healthcare workers and residents older than 65, on Tuesday.
The clinic will take place at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show Grounds auction house, located at 1000 N. Texas Ave. in Mercedes, according to a news release from Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez on Wednesday.
“Hopefully, this marks the beginning of the end of this terrible pandemic,” Cortez said in the release. “While local hospitals and some medical clinics have been working diligently to vaccinate people, this is the first opportunity for people in the community to receive the vaccines.”
Doors will open at 8 a.m., and the Moderna vaccine will be given out on a first come, first serve basis.
Those eligible for the vaccinations are categorized by two tiers, however it does not matter which tier they fit into.
The first tier includes residents who work directly with COVID-19 patients in a hospital setting, such as physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and custodial staff. Those in pharmacy, diagnostic, and rehabilitation services also fit into this tier.
EMS providers, home healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities are also considered first tier.
The second tier includes staff working in outpatient settings, freestanding emergency medical care facilities and urgent care clinics. School nurses and pharmacy personnel who distribute the vaccine and facilitate COVID-19 tests are also eligible to receive their first dose, along with last responders such as funeral home workers and medical examiners.
The vaccine clinic, according to the release, will also be available to people 18 years old or older who suffer from a chronic medical condition that compromises their immune system, such as cancer, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and various heart conditions.
Women who are pregnant also qualify for the vaccine.
Before receiving the vaccine, residents are strongly encouraged to consult with their primary care doctors.
In another news release also issued Wednesday, Hidalgo County confirmed five more deaths linked to COVID-19 along with 604 new cases.
Of the new cases, 334 are confirmed, 215 probable and 55 suspected. This brings the death toll to 2,192, and the total case count to 50,965.
There are currently 327 people with COVID-19 in local hospitals, of which 115 are in intensive care units.
The county confirmed that 687 people were released from isolation due to the virus, leaving 1,974 active cases.
ELSEWHERE IN THE VALLEY
UT Health RGV, the practicing clinic of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s School of Medicine, announced Wednesday that it began administering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at its Brownsville campus.
This is the university’s fourth vaccinating site.
Of 900 vaccine doses UT Health RGV received, 500 went to Brownsville and the Harlingen UTRGV Clinical Education Building, and 400 to the UT Health RGV/Mercedes Knapp Family Health Center.
Vaccinations at all UT Health RGV sites are by appointment only, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., until Thursday. Visit https://uthealthrgv.org/health-care-news/coronavirus/vaccine/ to register for a shot.
Also in Cameron County, five more deaths due to COVID-19 were confirmed there Wednesday, raising the death toll there to 1,183.
County officials reported 113 new cases of the virus, bringing the total cases to 29,525.
Additionally, 77 people were reported to have recovered from the virus. The total number of people who have recovered from COVID-19 in the county is now 25,362.
In Starr County, 70 new cases of the virus were reported Wednesday, bringing the total active cases there to 534.
According to county officials, 4,822 people have recovered from COVID-19 so far, and 199 have died.
Willacy County confirmed 16 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, according to county Judge Aurelio “Keter” Guerra. The total virus cases there is now 1,600.