EL PASO, Texas -- Covid-19 infections continued their skyrocketing increase on Saturday as El Paso health officials announced an all-time high 1,643 new cases, along with a rising death count just shy of 600 and a record for hospital patients needing respirators.
Saturday's daily cases brought the staggering tally of currently active coronavirus infections to 16,837, with that number likely to grow as hundreds more test results are pending.
In addition, the health department reported 190 delayed positive results, for a combined addition of 1,833 cases to the county's cumulative pandemic case total of 48,885.
The death toll also grew by four to 599, with the latest victims including one man each in his 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. The City/County Health Authority has said more deaths are expected given the soaring hospitalization rate over the past couple of weeks. In addition, well over a hundred deaths suspected of being Covid-related are currently under investigation by medical authorities.
Hospitalizations dipped slightly on Saturday morning to 926 patients, with 237 of those patients listed in intensive care and a record 143 requiring the use of ventilators.
The new numbers came as the El Paso County Sheriff's Office on Saturday morning declared County Judge Ricardo Sameniego's shutdown order to be legal and said it would begin immediate enforcement of the measure throughout the city and county.
"Covid infections are out of control and continue to skyrocket with no end in sight. We are hopeful that the citizens of El Paso will understand the seriousness of this issue and voluntarily comply with the Judge’s order. Otherwise enforcement action will be taken," read a statement from the Sheriff's Office.