7 confirmed cases of COVID-19

Hospital District updates

By Becky Brewster

EDITOR’S NOTE: As of press time, Texas DSHS official case count for Culberson County– 7 cases with 1 death. Source: Texas DSHS | https://dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/

The Culberson County Hospital District met in Regular Session on July 8, 2020. Hospital Administrator Rick Gray briefed the Board on the Culberson Hospital’s response to the COVID-19, noting that they are still tracking and monitoring visitors at the entrance to the facility. He noted that 67 COVID-19 tests had been administered thus far with 5 positive results and one pending. Gray noted that the turnaround for test results has been two days.

Gray also reported that the Border RAC has activated its emergency response unit, with two Culberson Hospital EMS personnel providing medical workforce assistance in Brownsville (Cameron County) where the COVID-19 spike has overwhelmed the medical capabilities there. The Culberson Hospital Ambulance was pictured in the Brownsville Herald as part of a story on the situation in Brownsville.

Judy Blazek, Project Manager, updated the Board on the status of the parking lot/façade improvements project. Blazek noted that the issues regarding the elevations for drainage of the parking lot have been addressed, and the grading finished. Frontera Construction has begun pouring concrete for the parking lots. Blazek reported that the structural steel component for the canopies and façade are progressing but noted the Avadek plant is closed due to exposure to COVID-19 which may ultimately delay that portion of the project.

The Van Horn Economic Development Corporation (VHEDC) submitted a letter to the Board addressing several dilapidated, overgrown and/or abandoned properties that are currently on arrears in taxes, noting that they are working with the Town of Van Horn Code Enforcement Officer to keep these properties cleaned. Many of these properties currently have issues with ownership as the original owners have passed away without a will or moved with no forwarding address. The properties present a health and safety hazard to the neighbors and the Town as a whole. The VHEDC is asking the local taxing entities to contact the attorneys for delinquent taxes to aggressively pursue the collection on these properties, to file suit on the property, and to ultimately bring them to tax sale if the taxes are not brought current and the properties adequately maintained. The Board approved the submission of a letter to the delinquent tax attorneys with this request.

In other business, the Culberson County Hospital District:

Approved the consent agenda.

Noted that Fitch has conducted its annual review of the District and confirmed a continued bond rating of BBB.

Acknowledged the one-year continuation of the contract with Linebarger, Goggan, Blair and Sampson for the collection of delinquent taxes.

Acknowledged the ten-year renewal with Preferred Hospital Leasing for the operation of the hospital.