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El Paso mayor says health care ‘just fine’ as top doctor describes ‘dire situation’ with virus

EL PASO, Texas -- At a Covid-19 briefing Thursday afternoon, City/County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza described a "dire situation" as he urged El Pasoans to avoid Thanksgiving gatherings that could further fuel the current surge overloading hospitals.

Ocaranza said El Pasoans contracting the virus are four times more likely to end up in the hospital than the national average, based on CDC data.

The city's Covid-19 dashboard for the first time during the pandemic on Thursday showed "El Paso Hospital Status Indicates Readiness: NO."

That statistic was underscored by the fact that there were 52 patients currently being cared for at a makeshift hospital set up by state and federal officials at the El Paso Convention Center and 84 patients airlifted from El Paso to hospitals in other cities across Texas.

Despite what the city's dashboard indicated, Mayor Dee Margo maintained: "We are just fine on our health care and our supplies."

The mayor said that with 1,500 medical personnel recently sent to El Paso to assist local doctors and nurses and an adequate stock of personal protective equipment, there was no rationing of care occurring and no need to do so.

Margo's comments generated an immediate response from Dr. Ogechika Alozie, a prominent El Paso infectious disease specialist.

He questioned the mayor's choice of words, tweeting: "We have to do a better job of messaging. Crisis Communication 101 - Rule 1: Don't over reassure. Over-reassuring makes frightened people feel abandoned/Candor about present bad news can be paradoxically calming."

Alozie also provided a link to materials from a national medical seminar that reinforced the point he was making.

In an interview with ABC-7 after the briefing, Margo sought to qualify his remarks and acknowledged the challenges facing local hospitals.

"We're hitting probably 0 per cent of the capacity of those. And that's why we have the overflow, the tents and everything else," the mayor said. "What I'm saying is that we will adapt. And it changes everyday. It changes from the morning to the afternoon. You'll see the number of people that leave the ICU, or the new that increase or leave. So it's a variable thing. The thing is we're managing it."

The entire news conference by the mayor and other city officials can be viewed in the video player below.

Coronavirus / Health / News / Top Stories / Video

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.



  1. Thank you Mr. Mayor for confirming the obvious. Most of us figured we were being bamboozled by the doom and gloomers. It’s leaders like yourself, Cruz, Abbott and Paxton that are helping Texas through this over-reaction of the flu.
    Viva Texas!!!!

  2. The idiot Margo and his idiot people like delanders are unskilled.. Margo sells insurance. Lol. I bet delanders lives under the bridges with his family members. But they have a mouthful.

  3. Like most Republicans, the mayor is out of touch with reality. Many of them will be held criminally liable when the next Justice Department gets rolling. DanLanders is just a ‘pay him no mind’ village idiot so we know not to pay any attention to him. A moron is a moron

  4. Margo the Covid19 Denier is on his way out, just like Trump. Judge Samaniego and Oscar-good boy-Leeser will start dealing with this Pandemic as soon as Margo is kicked out of office. Margo the dumbass Abbot lover is just like Trump—a loser.

  5. I have always said……recovery begins with Trump gone. Trumpers suffering from BDS. The Trump loss hangover will last for years. Lol. Trump will be physically removed from the White House. What “magically” disappeared are the cheap farmer maga hats. Lol.

  6. Dan Anderson, how old are you?? You’re still waiting for Covid to disappear in your small, fantasy-driven world. All you Trumptards are beyond pathetic and pitiful.

  7. Saddest part is Trump is not one of them. He’s a Con, who has NEVER known the blue color right wingers. He just came up with a plan and said everything they wanted to hear. Gullible SOBs!

  8. Without Trump, there would have never been an Operation Warp Speed. Only he was able to get Ford and GM, making ventilators. Trump sent hospital ships and field hospitals to NYC, where that POS Governor ignored and failed to use, while intentionally sending Covid patients into nursing homes that murdered 30,000 elderly patients.

    1. Without Trump there would not be 250k dead souls. Without Trump the US government would have reacted quickly to stop the spread of Covid19 and the economy would not have collapsed. Without Trump the simple wearing of a face mask would not have been Politicized. Without Trump we would not have a lame duck president who refuses to accept the will of 80 million Americans who have had enough of the Trump Three Ring Circus and its cabinet filled with Racist, Xenophobic, Homophobic, Anti- Immigrant Imbeciles.

          1. You are an uneducated, unemployed shit head,living on welfare and food stamps. Mooching off of the state of Texas.

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