Harlingen, Texas (KVEO)-Several unaccompanied migrant children in Cameron County have tested positive for COVID-19 after being transferred to detention centers. However, county officials say the cases are not spreading within the community.
Concern has increased over cramped and overcrowded facilities that may allow the virus to spread.
According to Cameron County’s health administrator, Esmeralda Guajardo, the number of positive cases is coming from the detention facilities for unaccompanied children.
The county reported that 184 children tested positive for the virus this past weekend. 116 of those positive cases were from the age range of 10 to 19. Guajardo said out of that figure, 37 cases tested positive in the city of Brownsville and 56 from were from Los Fresnos.
“They actually test them, they screen them for several diseases it depends on the sight of symptoms, or it depends on their criteria when they first appear at the shelter,” said Guajardo.
Guajardo added there has not been reports of the virus, as of Tuesday, spreading into the community within that age group and that all minors in the facility that test positive are immediately isolated.
“If they’re testing individuals when they’re coming through, and they’re positive, they have to report it to us because we are the local health department,” said Guajardo.
Guajardo said it is unknown if the minors are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine within the detention centers, and still urges the public to continue with health-safety precautions.
“We don’t want people to let their guard down yet even those these individuals are in a facility,” said Guajardo. “I don’t want people to let their guard down, yet we still have some cases out there.”
Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz visited the Rio Grande Valley this month to tour the border alongside local border officials.
Sen. Cruz said the group of senators saw a group of children inside the Donna facility testing positive for COVID-19.
Cruz noted that the migrant holding facility in Donna is well-over its capacity limit.
Governor Greg Abbott has shared concerns about the COVID-19 spread to migrants crossing the U.S. Mexico border, this came after he announced he would lift the statewide mask mandate and allow all businesses to open to 100% capacity.
“CBP is making every effort to remain within CDC guidelines and mitigate long periods of processing and holding to minimize potential exposure to our workforce, those in custody, and the community,” said the written statement. “Once processing is complete, these individuals will be expeditiously transferred out of CBP custody.”