Culberson County judge hospitalized with COVID-19

VAN HORN — The county judge of Culberson County is sick with COVID-19, officials in the region confirmed this week. But the judge, Carlos Urias, is reportedly doing better after being taken to a hospital in San Antonio.

The county judge’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment, nor did any county commissioners. But the news came to light during a Presidio County Commissioners Court meeting last week, where Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara asked attendees to pray for Urias.

“Our county judge in Van Horn, in Culberson County, has been hospitalized and flown to San Antonio,” she told commissioners and attendees last Thursday. “He does have COVID and is very ill.”

In an interview this week, Judge Urias’ daughter Erica said the county executive had first started experiencing symptoms in mid-October.

The family had no idea how Urias contracted the virus, she said. “I think it was a fluke thing,” she said. “He was always adamant about having a mask.”

After Urias was confirmed to have coronavirus, his condition deteriorated through October, Erica said. Around Halloween, the family took him to a hospital in El Paso.

He was discharged, but his symptoms kept worsening and he was having difficulty breathing, Erica said. The family took Urias to the local hospital in Van Horn, where he spent a few days before being transferred to the COVID ward at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio.

Erica, who spoke to The Big Bend Sentinel in a phone interview from San Antonio on Wednesday, said her father’s condition seemed to be improving.

“We believe he’s over his big hump” of sickness, she said. “It’s slow progress, but it’s progress nonetheless. We’re very blessed.”

In a statement to The Big Bend Sentinel, the Urias family said they were “very grateful” for the outpouring of support, including from officials throughout the region.

“We want to encourage our local communities to stay safe,” Erica said. “That’s what my father would want.”

At a virtual Culberson County commissioners meeting last week, county leaders voted to make Commissioner Cornelio Garibay the temporary judge. They did not comment on Urias’ condition or give further explanation on the vote.