EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Every week, ABC-7 anchor Mauricio Casillas will speak to Dr. Edward Michelson. Dr. Michelson is the chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine for Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.
Here's the Q&A for Feb. 11:
Mauricio Casillas (KVIA): How has this past week gone for you?
Dr. Edward Michelson (Chairman, Dept. of Emergency medicine TTUHSC El Paso): "This past week has been very encouraging for me. We're seeing a drop in the number of patients testing positive. The current positivity rate is now around seven percent. The total number of new cases each day in El Paso is also declining, and the number of patients in the hospital is going down, so this is all great news."
Casillas: Can hospitals handle the current number of patients?
Dr. Michelson: "Absolutely. We're now under 400 total patients in El Paso with Covid-19. We've dropped below 150 of those patients in ICU, and below 100 intubated, and so these are encouraging numbers. I hope we continue to see them decline."
Casillas: What should people at home be doing right now?
Dr. Michelson: "It's the same. It sounds kind of boring, but mask wearing is very important. Hand washing, social distancing. All these things help prevent the spread of Covid-19. We know that many of our citizens haven't had the chance yet to get the vaccine, so their best protection is to continue doing these practices."
Casillas: What is the most eye-opening thing you’ve seen this week?
Dr. Michelson: "The success we're having getting folks vaccinated. In the next day or two, we will surpass 100,000 doses of one of the two vaccines in the arms of patients here in El Paso. About 34,000 people are fully vaccinated. I'm looking forward to that number continuing to go up."
Casillas: What is your prediction for next week?
Dr. Michelson: "My prediction for next week is that we will hopefully see more doses of the vaccine arriving in the area. I'm looking forward to us getting to 120,000 people vaccinated, with 40,000 receiving both doses. Hopefully the numbers and cases will continue to decline."
Casillas: What is giving you hope at this time?
Dr. Michelson: "I get a lot of hope from our declining numbers. Not only here in El Paso, but really, across the state and across the nation. Virtually every state is seeing flat or declining numbers of new cases."
Casillas: What is your message to the Borderland?
Dr. Michelson: "Keep wearing those masks and washing those hands. Avoid large groups, because we're not out of the woods yet."