COVID-19 positive rate among migrants in Laredo increased to 40 percent in some groups, said a complaint filed with the U.S. Southern District Court.
Pete Saenz, mayor of Laredo, Texas, wrote to U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar on July 11 asking for resources to deal with an ever-growing migrant population at their borders. In the Rio Grande Valley, positive COVID-19 test results for some migrant groups have increased by as much as 40 percent. Increased bus numbers from three to six per day increased to 250 to 350 passengers per day.
Saenz mentioned that the Laredo Medical Authority (LHA) set up a quarantine to keep the migrants away from their community members. Because of the pandemic and lack of medical personnel, Laredo has no pediatric ICU and only a limited number of beds and adult ICUs that can accommodate COVID-19 patients.
On August 15, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement recorded 1,261 COVID-19 positive cases in custody out of 25,292 detained population. There were 362 confirmed cases in the Rio Grande detention center, Laredo.
The Dallas Morning News reports Saenz said the border city was overwhelmed by the migrants transferred by the U.S. Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley. The local hospitals had a rise in positive cases. Laredo spokeswoman Noraida Negron said that over 800 migrants were sent to North Texas, such as Dallas, Austin, and Houston, by chartered buses from Laredo. Before their trip to Dallas, migrants were not tested for the COVID-19, Negron said.
On July 16, Laredo filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to prevent the DHS from sending migrants arriving in the U.S. through the Rio Grande Valley to Laredo, citing an increase in migrants with COVID-19 being sent to the region. The lawsuit said up to 40 percent of all migrants brought by the DHS were tested positive for COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.