Texas Border Business
AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today visited the Rio Grande Valley to meet with state legislators and local officials to discuss the state’s ongoing response to COVID-19 and additional resources being sent to the region, as well as the Hurricane Hanna recovery efforts. Prior to the meeting, the Governor surveyed the damage in the Valley.
Following the meeting, the Governor held a press conference where he announced that the McAllen Convention Center will be converted into a health care facility to help meet the region’s hospital capacity needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The health care facility will have the capacity to treat a maximum of 250 patients and will open later this week. It will be equipped with hospital beds, medical equipment, and medical staff.
“As communities in the Rio Grande Valley rebuild from Hurricane Hanna, I urge Texans in the area to be mindful of the threat still posed by COVID-19,” said Governor Abbott. “As we work to slow the spread of COVID-19, it is vital that we take the necessary action to ensure abundant hospital capacity in the Rio Grande Valley. This temporary facility in McAllen will lessen the strain on the region’s hospitals until we can contain the virus and bring hospitalizations back down.”
The Governor also announced that the Department of Defense (DOD) has deployed two 85-person U.S. Army Reserve Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces (UAMTF) to the cities of Harlingen and Edinburg to help combat COVID-19. These teams consists of medical and support professionals who will help meet medical needs at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen and DHR Health in Edinburg. Earlier today, the Governor announced a deployment of similar resources to the Coastal Bend.
Additionally, the state continues to work with local officials to set up and operate alternate care sites across the Rio Grande Valley, including Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Webb counties. Multiple locations have already begun operations, and others will begin operating by the end of the week. Establishing these sites will ensure additional hospital capacity in the region as Texas responds to COVID-19.