EL PASO, Texas -- Friday marks 10 weeks since El Paso’s first confirmed Covid-19 case, though the infection almost certainly was present before it was officially detected.
Here is what the data shows about the current state of affairs with Covid-19, and a look at what the next four weeks could look like if current trends continue.
The number of El Pasoans tested for Covid-19 has been increasing in recent weeks, though the testing rate still lags well behind the national average.
Local testing numbers are confusing because El Paso didn’t track private lab tests, which handle the bulk of the testing, in the earliest weeks of the outbreak. The city has been providing an estimate of total tests in recent weeks, but the accuracy of that number is hard to test. State health officials provide a testing number for El Paso County that’s well below the local estimates. Both numbers are used for this comparison.
Trends in number of cases
The number of new cases reported each week continues to climb. El Paso officials say that’s due to increased testing, but they’ve also said large gatherings over Easter and Mother’s Day caused a spike in cases.
The growth rate of new cases has stabilized the past four weeks at between 3.5 percent and 4.6 percent average daily increase in new reported cases.
Deaths and hospitalizations
El Paso’s Covid-19 deaths continue to mount, with about half of the total deaths reported occurring in the past two weeks.
The number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals and intensive care units has continued to push upward.
Projections for the next month
Remember, these projections aren’t predictions of what will happen in the future, but rather are simply mathematical calculations of what could happen if current trends continue.
Here’s what the chart looks like if new Covid-19 cases continue to grow by an average of 3.5 percent daily for the next four weeks.
If the number of new cases continues on its current trend, the number of Covid -19 cases requiring hospitalization also will continue to grow. Dr. Hector Ocaranza, the city-county health authority, has said increases in social gatherings over Easter and Mother’s Day resulted in spikes in Covid-19 hospitalization rates 10 days later. He and other officials have expressed concerned that the Memorial Day weekend could produce the same result.
Here’s what the chart looks like if cases continue to grow at their current rate and the percentage of patients requiring hospitalization remains unchanged.
And here’s what the charting of ICU cases could look like with the same assumptions. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported that El Paso, Hudspeth and Culberson counties had only 42 available ICU beds as of Thursday. The current trend could overwhelm that capacity in two weeks.