Forty percent of migrants released in Texas border city test positive for COVID-19, officials say
AUSTIN, Texas — The city of Laredo, Texas, has refused to take in migrants who have been bused in from elsewhere on the border after discovering 40% of them tested positive for the coronavirus, according to two local government officials.
“That was very high,” Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz said in an interview, referring to the infection rate among migrants dropped off by the Border Patrol last week. Laredo health authority, Dr. Victor Trevino, confirmed the numbers.
The 40% infection rate is the highest known positivity rate along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last week, McAllen, Texas, reported a 15% positivity rate among migrants released from custody.
Concerned that migrants arriving in Laredo would further strain hospital resources, Laredo officials contracted private bus companies to transport migrants arriving from the Rio Grande Valley to larger cities across the state. By not admitting migrants on the McAllen buses, the city is not required to test them for the coronavirus and could forward the families elsewhere. Those who test positive cannot travel and must be quarantined for 10 days, a situation Saenz wanted to evade to avoid migrant overflow.
TEXAS BORDER TOWN STRUGGLES UNDER SURGE OF MIGRANT FAMILIES AND COVID-19
Since late spring, Border Patrol officials in the Rio Grande Valley region have transported thousands of migrant families to Laredo because shelters were less inundated than those in McAllen. Migrants were immediately tested at the shelter upon being admitted. In that time, coronavirus positivity rates among migrants arriving in Laredo rose from 4% in April to 40% in August.
Laredo does not have a pediatric intensive care unit. With several families arriving in Laredo recently, city officials worried young children would not get emergency care if they were forced to quarantine.
This past week, the city began busing migrants on to Austin, Dallas, and Houston. Laredo selected those three cities because they were among the top places migrants planned to go after crossing the border.
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The extended bus rides are free to migrants, and the city is picking up the cost, up to $10,000 per day. Saenz expects to be reimbursed by the federal government.
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Tags: News, Texas, Mexico, Delta Variant, Coronavirus, Border Crisis, White House, Joe Biden
Original Author: Anna Giaritelli
Original Location: Forty percent of migrants released in Texas border city test positive for COVID-19, officials say