EL PASO, Texas -- El Paso's coronavirus surge continued Tuesday night as the Department of Public Health reported three new deaths and 65 more cases.
The announcements brought the county's death count to 36 and raised the total number of confirmed cases to 1,413. One of those new cases reported was that of an employee at L&F Distributors, the local supplier of Budweiser.
El Paso’s cases have climbed more than 60% over the past two weeks, according to the Associated Press.
“Our community is once again seeing a considerable increase in positive Covid-19 cases," said City/County Health Authority said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, who added he was once again "heartbroken" at the rising death toll.
The trio of latest victims were two men in their 60s and a woman in her 90s, Ocaranza said.
El Paso County's high hospitalization rate - which has stayed virtually unchanged in days - also remained a factor Tuesday night, with 80 people hospitalized due to the virus and half of those (40) listed in intensive care. Ventilators were required for 17 of those patients, officials said.
With an estimated 13,300 tests performed to date, that means roughly 11% of those El Pasoans being tested are coming back positive, which is higher than the state of Texas' average of around 8%.
As a result, County Judge Ricardo Samaniego asked Gov. Greg Abbott to delay more re-openings in the community amid worries over rising caseloads.
Samaniego sent a letter asking the governor to keep current restrictions in place around El Paso until numbers improve. A spokesman for Abbott did not return a message from the Associated Press seeking comment about the letter.
Samaniego told ABC-7 that he also spoke with the governor on Tuesday, but he declined to elaborate on what was said during that conversation. He said he would be issuing a news release on Wednesday.
The judge did, however, offer this:
"I think we really need to understand the seriousness of opening prematurely and I don’t think we’ve been able to express that clearly. There is a tremendous amount of seriousness we need to look at if we open prematurely. I don’t think anyone here in the community can clearly say that it’s an optimal time/opportunity to open businesses at this point in time -- because it isn’t. Do we want to be dealing with it in September or do we want to be in and out of this situation in July? That’s the question. I don’t have the numbers to tell you with confidence that it’s a timely opportunity to follow the governor’s order."
Below is the latest coronavirus case locator map and other demographic information on the virus outbreak as provided by the health department.
The map shows the amount of positive cases by zip codes, with the number of cases in red dots: 79821 (4), 79835 (43), 79836 (10), 79838 (14), 79849 (25), 79853 (24), 79901 (15), 79902 (18), 79903 (46), 79904 (42), 79905 (60), 79907 (76), 79911 (8), 79912 (102), 79915 (64), 79922 (7), 79924 (72), 79925 (58), 79927 (80), 79928 (100), 79930 (43), 79932 (57), 79934 (32), 79935 (32), 79936 (179), 79938 (202).