Migrants have to take COVID-19 test and came negative to stay at Immigrant Shelter


Migrants will now take COVID-19 tests when staying at the Catholic Charities respite center after the City of McAllen was provided with 15,000 COVID-19 tests by the state.

McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said his city is receiving as many as 700 migrants per day.

“We were surprised the first day that I got the call that said, ‘hey, they’re down here.’” Darling recalled. “We found out they weren’t tested and so we were scrambling for tests. And we called the governor’s office, and boom, we had 15,000 tests.”

For those arriving housing is an issue, they don’t have a place to sleep or eat, and a large number of them stay at Catholic Charities respite center where they can stay but only if their COVID-19 test comes negative, this as a precaution for other migrants who are also staying there. 

“Because we test everyone that enters inside, we are allowing people to go ahead, as long as we keep numbers reasonable, there’s no social distancing,” said Sister Norma Pimentel who serves as executive director of the Center. 

People who test positive for COVID are housed in a separate area to be quarantined for 10 days.

Sister Pimentel said the COVID positivity rate has been around one to four percent, and all those cases are being quarantined.


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