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El Paso leaders cautiously optimistic about virus, but health dept. won’t shorten quarantines

EL PASO, Texas -- El Paso Mayor Dee Margo and County Judge Ricardo Samniego expressed cautious optimism amid declining virus cases and hospitalizations during a Thursday afternoon briefing at City Hall on the Covid-19 situation locally.

However, the two men along with health officials cautioned that we won't know the potential impact of Thanksgiving gatherings for at least another week.

"Traditionally the holidays will trigger a spike. And that's what we're gonna be seeing, a rise in the cases. Hopefully not, but we might start seeing a rise in the cases by this weekend or early next week," said El Paso City/County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza.

Thursday's news conference marked the first joint appearance together by the mayor and judge since a fallout over the judge's shutdown order last month that was first upheld by the courts only to later be reversed on appeal.

The mayor downplayed his public disagreement with the judge over the shutdown and maintained the two leaders are currently operating on the same page.

"Don't distort. The issues we had before were questions on conflict related to the order, which had to be sorted out legally," Margo said.

Added Samaniego: "I think it's very clear that unity brings us together. I think El Paso has always been unified. The important part is we're both trying to do the best that we can with the things that we have at our hands. To me, because I supersede the mayor, I have a lot of pressure of trying to do the best that I can from a legal perspective."

The news conference came as the El Paso Department of Public Health announced that it wouldn't adopt new U.S. Centers for Disease Control quarantine alternatives due to the recent surge in cases and hospitalizations locally.

In the new guidance, the CDC said people could leave quarantine without taking a test if they do not develop any symptoms 10 days after being exposed to someone else with the virus, or after seven days with a negative test result and no symptoms.

"The CDC’s publication states local public health authorities determine and establish quarantine options for their local jurisdictions based on current situations. Taking all the available data and information into account, the Department of Public Health will continue requiring individuals exposed to Covid-19 to quarantine for 14 days," said public health director Angela Mora.

Earlier Thursday, El Paso recorded its third deadliest day of the pandemic with 27 additional victims added to the coronavirus fatality tally, which has now reached 968. Almost half those deaths have come since the beginning of November.

That death toll is expected to continue to grow as there are also 603 deaths currently under investigation.

Health leaders also acknowledged that the state of Texas actually shows a higher death count for El Paso than the local tally. The state lists a total of 1,142 Sun City virus fatalities as of Thursday.

"The state is reporting the number of Covid-19 related deaths just by information from death certificates," Ocaranza explained. "But we are a lot more thorough in that we request the medical records from the attending physician... It takes some time before we receive those. So it will lag from the time of death until we confirm those deaths."

You can watch the entire Covid-19 briefing from City Hall in the video player below.

El Paso / Health / News / Top Stories / Video

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.

Saul Saenz

El Paso native Saul Saenz is a veteran reporter who also hosts ABC-7 Extra.



    1. It is a bit better than the orange buffoon trying to call any, but we still have an extremely high positivity rate and things don’t seem to be getting any better.

        1. The WHO now thinks it was in the US first. You really need to stop watching FOX, OANN, and newsmax or you’re going to continue to be an uninformed right wing moron.

          1. Uh yes they did. This was a planned attack and everyone knows it. Well everyone except you and your lowlife ilk but that’s because you’re all morons.

  1. So now maga the moron is more knowledgeable about the origins of the virus than the intelligence agencies of the US, the UK, South Korea, Japan, Russia, Australia, Germany, France, and Canada. If that’s so, why isn’t he running the WHO? I forgot Israel. Aah, maga the clinical professor of epidemiology.

    1. Hey Granny maga. Your wall of degrees?? You wasted your money trying to get as many degrees as you could. And you wasted the people who taught you their valuable time. Why? Because in spite of your so called *wall of degrees* you have learned Nothing and remain a total Fool! All the education and books in the world cannot educate an inveterate fool such as yourself. So stop bragging about your *brilliant mind* which only exists in the dark recesses of your polluted imagination.

      1. This is coming from a GED educated moron, that couldn’t even complete one enlistment in the Navy. Tell me, do you proudly display your DD-214 that says “Other Than Honorable Discharge”?

        1. GoofyMike *cop of the year*? Probably had your nose so far up your boss’s ass that all you could see was hemmoroids up there. With few exceptions all cops are Assholes. Did you also get Asshole of the Year while you were at it? More like Mall Cop of the Year for busting teenagers stealing cd’s from the record store! Trump lovers are so Funny!!🀩🀩🀩🀩🀩🀩🀩

        1. IdiotMike aka the Pink Panther strikes again. The over the hill Mall cop who dreams of being a real law enforcer. Hey dummy, don’t shoot yourself in the foot! And if you do, you will do us all a favor.πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

          1. Unlike you, turd, I am looking at my “I love me wall”, and see a graduation certificate from a police academy, a plaque from my old police department for “Officer of the Year”, an award for “Exceptional Performance” from the agency Administrator, an award from my Special Agent in Charge (SAC), when I was assigned to the Seattle Field Division, an award for Exceptional Performance from my SAC when I was assigned to the St. Louis Field Division, an award for “Special Act or Service from my agency Administrator in 2013 when I was the Assistant Attache from my agency to the Russian Federation. I also have an OCDETF award from the OCDETS Committee in San Francisco. I also have a certificate stating I was an instructor at the US Army Intelligence Center and School, Fort Huachuca, AZ.

            Now let’s review your accomplishments: Maybe a GED certificate? A DD-214 that says you were thrown out of the Navy under “Other Than Honorable Conditions”. The only other thing on your wall would be your Bail-Bondsman’s business card.

  2. Hey Mike, why don’t you take your buddy maga with you on a Super Duper Secret Mission where you guys pretend you are boyfriend and girlfriend Covert Spies out to save the world from Democrats!! Better yet use your skills as a Mall cop to start a Coup with all the Goofball, Hillbilly Morons who want Trump to continue his Trump Shit Show!!!

  3. Just like maga, all your trophies, ribbons and awards were a waste of time and effort when you voted for a Moron Imbecile like the Pussygrabber. Your glory days behind you, you should just sit back in your rocking chair and remember when you were in your right mind. Now you dream of days gone by as you make your midnight rounds at the Mall. So sad.😣😣😣😣😣

    1. You are a low IQ, unemployed loudmouth that never had a career. Yu are now in your mid-60’s with absolutely nothing to show for it. The only thing you have accomplished in life is to make not only your family, but most of El Paso despise you.

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