EL PASO, Texas-- For the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began, El Paso is reporting its highest number of active cases - topping more than 6,000 residents. The concern is clear with city officials as the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all increasing daily.
“This is a very concerning situation, we have seen an increase in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from Covid-19 that is not stopping," Dr. Hector Ocaranza, the El Paso City/County Health Authority, said.
In the last seven days, more than 3,000 additional Covid-19 cases have been reported, and the increase is rising concerns over hospital capacity as the flu season gets started.
“When you combine influenza plus the Covid you will overwhelm the health care system very easily if we don’t take personal responsibility,” Dr. Ocaranza said.
Hospitalizations are a key number in El Paso, as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has threatened stricter restrictions against the city if Covid-19 hospitalizations continue to increase.
“At the rate that we are going we will reach those thresholds that the governor has set in which he will be implementing restrictions. We will need to start implementing those restrictions and those restrictions are going to be stricter," Dr. Ocaranza said.
A major roadblock in the fight against Covid-19 is the public's lack of responsiblity, according to city officials. Director of the El Paso Public Health Department Angla Mora says the contact tracing effort is not going well because folks refuse to work with health officials.
“They hang up on us, they challenge our authority. In many cases, they tell us that they know better how to take care of their family. We are immediately, with Dr. Ocaranza’s assistance, we are issuing health orders that are delivered by a police officer and a public health official to their domicile,” Mora said.
In the more than 200 days of the pandemic, more than 300,000 Covid-19 tests have been administered. The seven-day rolling positivity rate is now back up in double digits at 11.43%, while the new cases per 100,000 are now at 50.