EL PASO, Texas -- El Paso County has surpassed much-larger Dallas County in the number of active coronavirus cases following a record-setting week ending Saturday that saw a whopping 3,846 new infections.
The El Paso Department of Public Health reported 558 additional confirmed cases (along with 24 delayed positive tests) on Saturday morning, which while still steep did mark a notable decrease from the record upward counts of 838 for Friday and 717 on Thursday that local leaders said were "out of control."
For an 11th straight day however, El Paso did set a record for number of active infections. As of Saturday morning, officials said there were 7,628 active cases among El Pasoans. By comparison, state data showed Dallas County's active case count currently at 7,217.
Dallas County is the second-most populous county in Texas with an estimated population of 2.6 million residents, while El Paso County is the sixth-largest in the state with a population of roughly 800,000.
There were no new El Paso deaths reported Saturday, although City/County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza has repeatedly noted that fatalities are a lagging indicator, and given the soaring case load and hospitalization rate he expects to see added deaths to the current tally of 558.
Hospitalizations remained a major concern Saturday with an all-time high number of patients occupying intensive care units in El Paso hospitals. Of the 419 patients hospitalized for Covid-related illness on Saturday, 118 were in the ICU - a half-dozen more than the day prior and surpassing the record of 116 from July 22. In addition, 42 of those ICU patients currently require ventilators.
As of Friday evening, data from Texas health officials had showed there were only eight total remaining ICU beds available at hospitals in the entire El Paso region, which also includes Hudspeth and Culberson counties.
To date there have been 32,060 virus infections in El Paso County, with 23,734 listed as having recovered. However, as ABC-7 has previously reported, doctors and medical research suggest that some recovered persons may face long-term health consequences as a result of having been infected with the virus.
Complete El Paso health department data on Covid-19 can be found online at epstrong.org.