McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — As Texas reported its first case of the omicron variant this week, officials in the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas said they are promoting coronavirus vaccinations and boosting surveillance of foreigners to help guard against the disease spreading south of the border.

The first case of the omicron COVID-19 variant was reported Monday in Harris County, which is home to Houston. The patient was a fully vaccinated woman in her 40s, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported.

Tamaulipas Gov. Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca has instructed increased “strengthening of epidemiological surveillance at borders and airports,” according to a news release by the state’s health director Gloria Molina Gamboa.

Health officials also are urging vaccinations for everyone who is eligible in the Mexican state. In addition, they are promoting “reinforcing measures such as the use of face masks, hand hygiene and healthy distance,” Molina Gamboa said.

In November, she presided over a meeting of the State Health Safety Committee held in the state’s capital of Victoria.

She said all foreigners who enter the border state “will be monitored” for coronavirus. And information on flight connections with countries where omicron is spreading will be requested from the airlines.

In South Texas, across the Rio Grande from Tamaulipas, there has been a recent rise in coronavirus cases lately.

(Graphic by Hidalgo County)

Hidalgo County on Tuesday reported the coronavirus-related death of an unvaccinated senior citizen male, and an additional 268 new cases of COVID-19. On Friday, Hidalgo County reported two coronavirus-related deaths and 379 new cases.

Cameron County, on the Gulf Coast, reported one death and 38 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, including two patients at a shelter that houses unaccompanied migrant youth.

Sandra Sanchez can be reached at