EL PASO, Texas -- One year ago at this time, El Paso County shattered a pandemic record as health officials announced 1,161 new Covid-19 cases in a single-day alone.
It was back in late October 2020 that El Paso County became the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic. Over several weeks, hospitalizations skyrocketed, mobile morgues arrived and triage tents were set up as hospitals reached capacity.
El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego on Friday looked back on that dark period, telling ABC-7: “We were the worst, if not in the world, we were the worst in the nation for sure - and that didn’t feel good.”
Samaniego remembers walking through the morgue trailers trying to assess the situation when he received a call that one of his friends had died - and was actually in one of those trailers.
He added that it was difficult to protect the community, especially since there was no vaccine at that time.
Samaniego also remembers other moments from that dark period.
“Right in front of me, over on the second floor in the medical examiner's office, were families that were mourning - looking down at the trailers. And it was very emotional that the closest that they could get (to their family membesr) was being on the second floor of the parking lot station,” Samaniego said.
Even though numbers have decreased one year later, Samaniego urges the community to not let their guard down, especially now.
“People say you don’t want to look back at what happened - but in this case you do. It’s going to remind us what we need to do going forward,” he said.