EL PASO, Texas -- New data released by El Paso health officials links half of all coronavirus cases in the county to close contact with someone infected - much of it the result of home gatherings with family and friends.
The finding is contained in exposure data released over the weekend in response to a request by ABC-7.
It is worth noting that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that roughly a third of those infected with the virus are asymptomatic, meaning they don't show any symptoms despite having the virus.
The new El Paso data also links 20% of virus cases to community transmission and 20% to travel, while 10% of cases remained under investigation as epidemiologists search for possible exposure links.
El Paso Mayor Dee Margo along with other city and county leaders have expressed particular concerns about El Pasoans crossing the Mexican border into Juarez, which has seen the region's deadliest outbreak that has claimed 210 lives to date.
"We have families on both sides. Culture, commerce on both sides for over 300 years and that's just part and parcel to who we are," Margo said late Sunday night on ABC-7 Xtra. "We've been trying to discourage people from going to Juarez and [against] large gatherings."
Margo is also discouraging gatherings of any kind, even those within the home.
"Most of the positives (cases) that have come out of gatherings have come out of gatherings at homes, based on the data we've seen from epidemiological analysis of contact tracing," Margo said. "It's where you let your guard down. We're known for large families in this region."
Margo has urged El Pasoans to wear face coverings when leaving their homes to reduce the likelihood of spreading or contracting the virus.
As of Monday, the total number of virus cases in El Paso was up to 2,376, with 58 of those cases turning deadly.