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South Texas cities seeing exponential COVID case increase

The cities seeing exponential increases in cases are Laredo, Brownsville-Harlingen, Eagle Pass, Rio Grande City and Corpus Christi. In July alone, Laredo surpassed 5,000 cases and as of August 18, the county has nearly doubled that number.
Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 7:02 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - Laredo is a unique city situated along the US-Mexico border. Family time and carne asadas are a part of the culture, many going to and from Mexico.

But being on the border could be one reason why the coronavirus has hit Laredo and the South Texas region hard.

“Whatever happens in our sister city happens to us and vice versa. We have to look at this as a community even though we’re two different countries divided by a river.”

Laredo vs Nuevo Laredo
Laredo vs Nuevo Laredo(KGNS)

Two countries divided by a river are battling a pandemic together. South Texas has land ports and border entries where thousands of people come and go daily.

The region has gotten national attention in the last few weeks for having one of the highest new infection rates in the US.

The cities seeing exponential increases in cases are Laredo, Brownsville-Harlingen, Eagle Pass, Rio Grande City and Corpus Christi.

These are cities located in counties with thousands of cases. They also have large populations- around 262,000 in Laredo.

“We’re having infections like other cities, but because we’re the largest land port, we cannot shut down completely,” said Laredo’s Health Authority Dr. Victor Treviño. “This would really impact the whole country.”

Dr. Treviño says the local government needs to be in constant communication with Nuevo Laredo officials and federal authorities. He also says they have been looking into installing checkpoint areas along the border to take temperatures and conduct a health questionnaire with each person attempting to cross.

Nearly 51,000 of the state’s cases come from just three counties in South Texas.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, Webb County recorded its first case on March 17. Just 20 days later, the number was up to 106 cases and by June 24, 1,000. In July alone, Laredo surpassed 5,000 cases. As of Aug. 18, the county has nearly doubled that number.

Webb County Cases
Webb County Cases(KGNS)

So how does this compare to Webb’s neighbors, Zapata and Dimmit counties? While Webb has surpassed thousands of cases, Zapata and Dimmit have just under 400 combined.

Cameron and Hidalgo counties have the highest cases in South Texas with around 41,000 combined.

South Texas COVID Cases
South Texas COVID Cases(KGNS)

Dr. Treviño calls the virus an infestation.

“We as a society have a difficult time dealing with these measures. We’re used to liberties. We’re used to having our freedom. When we’re told we have to do certain things that we have to do, we’re not OK with that as a society.”

Dr. Treviño says we are in “double trouble” once flu season comes around.

He says shutting down cities and states is not the ideal solution. The best tool, he says, is to educate others and to take personal responsibility for your actions.

Although Laredo has had an upward spike in cases, Dr. Treviño tells KGNS that hospital admissions are decreasing. You can read more about that here.

Copyright 2020 KGNS. All rights reserved.

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