EL PASO, Texas -- While there were no new deaths reported Saturday morning due to coronavirus, El Paso shattered prior daily records for new cases and hospitalizations as officials said community spread continues to soar.
Health leaders reported 288 new cases on Saturday, a new single-day high for the pandemic. It also marked the 12th straight day of triple-digit increases in the amount of new infections.
Saturday's rise brought the number of new cases for the week to 1,623 - exceeding pacing projections by a couple hundred cases. It also represents a stunning 64% increase over last week, which had also been a record-breaker at 990 cases.
The number of El Pasoans hospitalized Saturday due to the virus jumped to 200, another pandemic milestone. In about a week and a half, the county's hospitalization numbers have doubled.
Well over a third of all virus patients in El Paso hospitals (71) are in intensive care, while 27 require the use of ventilators.
As of Saturday morning, the cumulative total of confirmed cases hit 6,953. Of those, there were 2,456 active cases while 4,362 were listed as recovered. The tally of deaths held steady at 135.
Health officials again Saturday cited "community spread" as the major contributing factor to the recent skyrocketing case growth. They had noted throughout the week that much of that infection increase has occurred among El Pasoans in their 20s and 30s, whom account for about a third of the county's population.
And that younger adult population isn't just getting infected, some of them are also getting very ill and ending up in the hospital - fueling the rise in hospitalizations too.
"We're seeing more young people coming into the hospital. People in their early 20s, mid-20s, they are being hospitalized," Dr. Jose Burgos, the director of internal medicine at University Medical Center, told ABC-7 in recent days. "It's not a casual admission of one day or two days. Some of them have been here for 10 or 15 days. They can get really sick just like anybody else."