EL PASO, Texas -- City and health officials at a briefing Thursday afternoon discussed what they called "deep concerns" in the wake of El Paso setting two coronavirus-era records Thursday: The highest number of new daily cases (523) and the highest number of active infections at 4,929.
Leaders warned El Pasoans to beware of "Covid fatigue" setting in. Officials said many people are letting their guard down and not following safety precautions, which is contributing to the surge in virus cases.
Mayor Dee Margo said the bulk of the recent case surge involved community spread. While officials said the causes of that spread run the gamut, they cited travel and retail stores as two of the larger contributors.
The other key message of the briefing came from Angela Mora, who was named earlier Thursday as the new El Paso health department director: "Answer your phone" because it could be a contact-tracer calling.
Mora said health department workers are being frustrated in their efforts to do contact tracing of cases because some people won't answer their phone despite multiple calls, while others answer and are uncooperative - with some even hanging up on tracers.
Mora added that those who fail to respond to the health department or follow quarantine orders may receive a visit from police.