The U.S. Department of Defense deployed military medical teams to South Texas to help border hospitals deal with the rising number of serious cases of the novel coronavirus. Officials in Rio Grande Valley hospitals report COVID-19 patients filled up emergency rooms in the region.
County officials in the Rio Grande Valley region of South Texas reported emergency rooms in the area are at or near capacity as the number of patients suffering from coronavirus-related complications continues to rise.
The military units include U.S. Army and U.S. Navy task forces and teams responding to border hospitals and regions from the Rio Grande Valley to Del Rio, information released from the Office of the Texas Governor revealed. In addition to the military medical teams, Texas government officials have looking for hotels and alternate facilities to house recovering COVID-19 patients in order to open spaces at overwhelmed hospitals.
“I am grateful to our federal partners at the Department of Defense for sending these teams to the Valley and working within the community to protect public health and combat this virus,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a prepared statement. “These teams, coupled with our newly established partnership with local hotels, will aid in our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensure adequate hospital capacity in the Valley.”
The additional resources and military personnel flooding into South Texas comes at a time when the region has seen a dramatic rise in new cases and in fatalities related to the novel coronavirus.
In Hidalgo County, health officials are reporting 304 patients in intensive care out of a total of 982 individuals hospitalized in the county. Health officials claim that out of the 10,943 cases reported since the pandemic started, 5,780 are currently active. In a similar fashion, Cameron County health officials are reporting a total of 5,565 cases since the pandemic started.
The cases in the Rio Grande Valley reported out of Cameron and Hidalgo County are nearly three times as high as the numbers reported out of the two main municipalities immediately south of the border. The Mexican cities of Matamoros and Reynosa, two of the largest cities in Tamaulipas are currently reporting a total of 5,134 cases as government officials claim that their hospital rooms are also overwhelmed.
Since late March, travel between the U.S. and Mexico has been restricted to only essential traffic and only U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents are allowed to freely cross. Individuals with visas have not been able to cross ports of entry for non-essential travel since the U.S. and Mexico issued travel restrictions on March 21, the U.S. Department of State revealed in their most recent travel warning.
As Breitbart Texas reported, in an attempt to further restrict travel by U.S. citizens and residents, the state of Tamaulipas has set up a series of checkpoints at international ports of entry where health officials turned back travelers who do not follow the currently imposed health guidelines.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.
Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.