Judge Eloy Vera of Starr County wrote in a Facebook post that there had been 18 coronavirus-related deaths in the county and that two seriously ill patients were flown out of the area for treatment.

“The local and valley hospitals are at full capacity and have no more beds available. I urge all of our residents to please shelter-in-place, wear face coverings, practice social distancing and AVOID GATHERINGS,” he wrote.

Judge Richard Cortez in neighboring Hidalgo County issued a similar warning, asking residents to shelter in place and wear face coverings to try to blunt the rapid spread of the virus.

“HIDALGO COUNTY HOSPITALS ARE AT CAPACITY,” he tweeted. “Celebrate 4th of July responsibly, SHELTER-IN-PLACE and avoid gatherings of 10+ people. Wear a face covering and social distance. Protect yourself and your family.”