COVID-19 cases increase among migrant children in South Texas border detention facilities

Border Report

'Dramatic increase in deaths' in Gulf County cases reported among residents

Cameron County, on the Gulf Coast of Texas and bordering Mexico, has seen a dramatic uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases among unaccompanied migrant children held in detention facilities in the county. (file/MGN photo)

McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — As coronavirus cases continue to rise along the South Texas border, there has also been an increase in COVID-19 cases of unaccompanied migrant children held in detention centers in Cameron County.

Cameron County officials on Tuesday reported 58 migrant children held in detention centers and minor shelters for unaccompanied children had tested positive for COVID-19 in the Gulf Coast county on the South Texas border with Mexico.

The migrant children cases make up about 20% of the 300 new coronavirus cases reported in Cameron County from Saturday through Monday, according to the county.

Two of the infected children were ages 9 and under; the rest were ages 10 to 19, county officials said. Specific ages are not reported in order to maintain medical privacy regulations.

Graphic Source: Cameron County

This is a 107% increase in COVID-19 cases among migrant youth held at these facilities from last Thursday, when there were just 28 cases among youth, and the majority of infected cases — 49 — were reported with adults at a facility or facilities in the small town of Los Fresnos, Texas.

On Tuesday, the number of adult cases in Los Fresnos dropped significantly to just 8 new coronavirus cases. However, the number of youth cases rose to 18 among unaccompanied migrant children ages 10 to 19 being detained in Los Fresnos.

Border Report has reached out to officials with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and requested information on the facilities where the migrant youth are being held and if any additional precautions are being taken currently to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. This story will be updated with any information we receive.

It’s a “very, very serious situation,” Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell said Aug. 27 during a news conference where he and county officials urged residents to take precautions to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr. is seen at an Aug. 27, 2021, news conference in Harlingen, Texas. (Cameron County Facebook Photo)

Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr. said Thursday the county had experienced an increase in over 2,115 cases and 32 deaths in the last two weeks, which he called a “dramatic increase in the number of deaths.”

On Tuesday officials reported seven more county deaths, bringing the total to 1,773 since the pandemic began in 2020.

Cameron County earlier this month opened a therapeutic infusion center in the town of Harlingen to administer antibody treatments to COVID-19 patients.

On Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced a second infusion center was opening in Edinburg, Texas, in neighboring Hidalgo County, to help reduce skyrocketing coronavirus cases in the South Texas border region.

South of the Rio Grande across from Brownsville, Texas, the northern Mexican city of Matamoros on Monday reported 59 new cases of coronavirus, according to the Tamaulipas Ministry of Health. The Mexican border city of Reynosa, across from McAllen, Texas, reported 17 new cases.

Mexico’s border state of Tamaulipas reported 17 deaths from COVID-19 on Monday.

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