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COVID at the Border

((Banner: COVID at the Border))
((Adapted by: Zdenko Novacki))
((Map: Roma, Texas))
((Main characters: 1 female; 1 male))
((Dr. Jose Vazquez, Starr County Health Authority))
We are one of the poorest counties in the state of Texas.
Our demographics, we are 98 percent Mexican immigrants
and basically, we are moderate to significant poverty level.
So, we have one of the highest index of diabetes in the
state. We have one of the highest for obesity in the state.
So, all of those conditions put our Starr County citizens at an
especial risk to get significant complications out of this
((Veronica Gonzalez, Flower Shop Owner))
Its a small town. We're bordering Miguel Aleman. Its
Mexico. It's about three blocks from here. They don't have
a lot of facilities. They don't have a lot of hospitals. They
don't have a lot of places where they can actually seek
medical help. So, they've done their best not to increase any
of the cases. So, we do have restrictions right now.
((Dr. Jose Vazquez, Starr County Health Authority))
Most of the times when people have got significantly ill
across the border, they have come across the river and we
had to send our ambulance units to the bridges to pick up
those patients and to care for them here with us seeing a
number of those cases now with a COVID-19 infection. But,
I believe, we are providing the service regardless the
situation that the patient have. For us, every patient counts
the same for us. Every patient's life has the same value than
the others. There are days or times during the day, where
our emergency room is full of patients, where we have had
three ambulances or four ambulances waiting for hours to be
able to bring down those patients inside our emergency
((Veronica Gonzalez, Flower Shop Owner))
I think it just exploded after June, after Texas actually
reopened. We did have five cases, seven cases, went back to
three cases, came back to zero, went back to, you know, less
than 10, always. And then June kicked in. Everybody kind of
went free spirit and everybody was tired of being cooped up, I
would imagine. They took their vacations, came back and then
this is what's happening now.
((Dr. Jose Vazquez, Starr County Health Authority))
It was a period of time, from mid-April to May, where we went for
21 straight days without any single positive case in this county.
Then it came the reopening and soon after, we saw our numbers
started to increase. Following that came Memorial weekend,
Father's Day weekend, July the 4th weekend etc. All of these
family reunions, barbecues outside, pool parties definitely had a