EL PASO, Texas -- El Paso city, county and health leaders held a briefing on Thursday afternoon to provide an update on the community's Covid-19 situation.
They offered a word of warning about avoid family gatherings and house parties headed into the Labor Day holiday weekend, along with a reminder to follow state and local health orders.
“Every time we have had a holiday, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, we have had spikes in positives because of the lack of discipline with family gatherings,” Mayor Dee Margo said.
Margo explained that with an 80% Hispanic county, El Paso has a highly vulnerable minority population, especially going into flu season.
County Judge Ricardo Samaniego was also quick to reflect on past surges of coronavirus tied to three-day weekends.
“Our community here in El Paso, we do not need another surge and the potential for the surge always happens during one of these holidays,” Samaniego said.
Optimism after no coronavirus deaths were reported Wednesday was tempered with El Paso reporting eight additional Covid-19 deaths on Thursday.
There were also 72 new virus cases reported and still 107 additional deaths "under investigation." But numbers for hospitalizations and ICU patients were down.
City-County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza said if El Pasoans follow protocols like social distancing, wearing masks and getting tested, dealing with the upcoming flu season could be easier.
“If we come as a community and we come together and protect each other, we will be able to go through this winter season in a safer way,” Ocaranza said.
Thursday's briefing came a day after Ocaranza told ABC-7 that while officials "know that there’s gonna be a risk," he's still "excited" for El Paso children to return to school classrooms.