EL PASO, Texas - The El Paso County Commissioners Court got a clear and detailed picture Monday on the link between Covid-19 victims and two of the most prominent underlying health conditions that make them more vulnerable to the virus.
"Amongst those underlying health conditions at the time of death, we most commonly see that high blood pressure and diabetes are the biggest ones," said El Paso City-County Public Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza. "We Hispanics are known to have a higher incidence of diabetes and high blood pressure than other minorities so this is something we need to be mindful of as we continue to fight this virus."
Dr. Ocaranza presented a graph to the commissioners which tells the tale, detailing how 42 percent of recorded patient victims also had diabetes while an even larger amount had hypertension with 57 percent.
He added that with hospitalization and ICU admission rates still increasing, things could be exacerbated even further in just a few short months.
"We must get things under control and this way we will be more prepared for October which is the flu season here in El Paso because that one could be very hard hitting our community," Dr. Ocaranza said.
The Emergency Management coordinator also spoke to commissioners, pointing to some positive signs, including a more stable reserve of personal protective equipment at hospitals and at-risk homes for the elderly.
"We have been working very closely with them since March," said Deputy Chief Jorge Rodriguez. "Our education task force went out to all of these facilities and they assessed them for PPE needs. If they had any gaps there those were provided."
But these same officials warn that all this effort will go to waste if the public fails to obey standard CDC guidelines.
Dr. Ocaranza also pressed another important point on Monday that he had previously touched on but said that it bears repeating, pointing out that he knows some at-risk residents are avoiding trips to the doctor's office because they’re afraid they’ll get sick during those visits.
However, he said he wants to remind the entire community that those offices represent some of the most thoroughly disinfected and therefore safest areas in the county.