On Saturday, County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, Senator Cesar Blanco, State Board of Education District 1 Representative Georgina Perez issued a joint statement, encouraging Dr. Hector Ocaranza – head of City-County Health Authority – to consider a mask requirement for the region.
The statement comes on the heels of several school districts and counties state-wide mandating masks as the Delta Variant of COVID-19 continues to roll through communities across the state and country.
Judge Samaniego, Senator Blanco and Rep. Perez’s statement is below:
Currently, the hospitals in the El Paso community are nearly at capacity treating non-COVID patients. El Paso is also experiencing a shortage of medical personnel to treat patients. These are patients who are suffering from heart attacks, stroke and other ailments. If a surge of COVID infections were to hit El Paso, the existing capacity issues would overwhelm El Paso’s hospital systems beyond the point that was seen last fall.
To keep our kids, teachers, and school staff safe, we have pledged to support school districts that require face coverings in accordance with guidance from the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Department of Education, and local health authorities. We have learned that mitigation efforts, including the use of a face covering, can save the lives of our children and teachers and allow them to focus on learning.
As more and more Texas communities take decisive action to protect public safety by defying Governor Abbott’s ban on mask mandates, we strongly encourage Dr. Ocaranza to consider a mask requirement to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community and keep our children safe.
As the health authority for El Paso County, Dr. Ocaranza has both the authority and the responsibility to protect public health, and we stand ready to provide support. Nothing is more important than keeping our kids safe. The time for action is now.