Starr County took all recommended precautions against COVID-19: large gatherings were banned, hundreds of residents were tested every day, a stay at home order was issued, and face masks were required.
Things began to change once Governor Greg Abbott issued reopening orders for the State of Texas. COVID-19 cases began to climb.
Now, the county is facing a health crisis. The county’s only hospital, Starr County Memorial Hospital is overflowing with COVID-19 patients, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
The county has formed a “death panel,” a county health board that determined guidelines that will help medical workers allocate medical resources, which are becoming more and more scarce, to patients with the best chance at surviving.
The committee will determine which COVID-19 patients have the best chance at surviving the virus and the ones that are most likely to die will be sent home with family, the county health authority, Jose Vasquez said.
“The situation is desperate,” Vasquez said. “We cannot continue functioning in the Starr County Memorial Hospital nor in our county in the way that things are going. The numbers are staggering.”
“The situation is desperate. We cannot continue functioning in the Starr County Memorial Hospital nor in our county in the way that things are going. The numbers are staggering,” Vasquez said.
Starr memorial went from an eight-bed COVID-19 unit to 17 beds, and then to 29 beds. The governor announced last week that U.S. Navy teams will be dispatched to Southern Texas in order to help stressed-out medical systems, including Starr Memorial. Per 100,000 people, the county is reporting about 92 new cases a day.
On Friday, the governor has issued a new stay-at-home order and curfew.