EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- The director of the El Paso Department of Public Health declared the coronavirus situation was "out of control" in a briefing with the media on Friday. (You can watch the entire briefing in the video player above.)
The comment from Angela Mora came after her agency announced a record 838 new daily coronavirus cases, along with 16 weeks-old delayed positives.
Friday's tally shattered the previous record for daily cases of 717 that was set the day prior on Thursday.
The number of known active cases now stands at 7,399, which is also a new record and continues to increase daily.
Mora and City/County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza indicated "community spread" continues to be responsible for the "sharp increase" in cases and cited younger people who are failing to wear masks and social distance as the key group fueling the rise. Taskforces were being dispatched to areas of the city considered hot spots for non-compliance with guidelines.
No new virus deaths were reported Friday, so El Paso County's death toll remained at 554, but Ocaranza warned more deaths could be expected from the infection surge.
Hospitalizations decreased from 438 on Thursday to 423 Friday. Thursday's total was a record high.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 31,478 confirmed cases in El Paso County with 23,387 reported recoveries. Doctors indicate some recovered persons will still have long-term health impacts from having been infected.
Along with the recent spike in cases has come an increased desire among El Pasoans to be tested for the virus.
El Paso Fire Chief Mario D'Agostino, who is supervising the local testing efforts, said 5,431 Covid-19 tests were administered at city sites on Thursday - marking the highest level of testing since July.
D'Agostino acknowledged some problems with wait times, similar to what was experienced when testing demand shot up during the summer, and said plans were in the works to increase testing and appointment options in the next couple of weeks.
Ocaranza also expressed support for keeping the border crossing restrictions with Mexico, set to expire Oct. 21, in place for an extended period of time as neighboring Juarez also is experiencing a virus surge.
The doctor indicated he believed allowing non-essential travel across the border was likely to contribute to a further spread of the virus before either community could attempt to bring their caseloads under control.
For a complete look at El Paso County's Covid-19 data, click here.