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Home | Breaking News | El Paso-area Coronavirus Archive Stories from April 22nd thru 30th
Corona virus | Graphic courtesy CDC

El Paso-area Coronavirus Archive Stories from April 22nd thru 30th

This archive page of our El Paso-area Coronavirus Information has releases and information from April 22nd through May 30th.

For the most recent health developments on COVID-19, please visit our up-to-the-minute page; for official info, click below.

Center for Disease Control (CDC)   |   World Health Organization    |    City of El Paso Department of Public Health

***ARCHIVE CONTENT FOLLOWS***

***UTEP: Remote work will continue May 1 (4/30/2020)

UTEP President Heather Wilson updated university staff of plans during the phased reopening of Texas. Below is her update:

Colleagues,

As you are probably aware, both the State of Texas and City of El Paso stay at home orders expire today, April 30. Starting tomorrow, a phased reopening of businesses and services will begin.

Other than essential employees, all UTEP faculty and staff will continue to work remotely for now. UTEP employees should not return to campus on May 1.

The University’s Recovery Plan Task Force, led by Graduate School Dean Stephen Crites, began meeting this week to help us plan to safely reopen the campus. There are many factors to consider, and with students finishing this semester by distance, we have time to get this right.

The health and safety of students, faculty and staff is our top priority, followed closely by our responsibility to help our students continue their educational progress.

For now, keep working from home. We’ll get information to everyone on how we are going to restart safely.

All the best,

Heather Wilson
President

***

*** Magoffin Home Historic Site Re-Opens (4/30/2020)

The Texas Historical Commission’s (THC) Magoffin Home State Historic Site will re-open for visitors on May 1, 2020, offering its regular business hours until further notice.

Visitors must make a reservation by phone. Only household groups are permitted, for 30-minute tour slots. A printed single-use tour information document will be provided and a docent will be available for questions.  At this time, no rentals are available.

The grounds, mansion, and restrooms will be open. The Visitor Center will remain closed at this time.

Visitors to the site are asked to:

  • Limit group visits to no more than 5-person groups who share the same household.
  • Maintain strict social distance (6′) from anyone at the site who is not part of your household.
  • Consider wearing face coverings, which are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“The safety of our visitors and staff is extremely important to us, and so is our passion for Texas history,” said Mark Wolfe, Executive Director of the THC. “We are pleased to re-open our sites that tell our state’s story and restore as many amenities and attractions as the current situation safely allows.” For more information pertaining to site specific guidelines, visit the Magoffin Home website.

Follow the Department of State Health Services guidelines to keep fellow Texans healthy and safe and refer to the  THC Public Health page to review all current sites guidelines and updates.

***

*** El Paso Sun City Pride Cancels 14th Annual Pride Festivities (4/30/2020)

Thursday morning, officials with the annual Sun City Pride Festival announced the cancellation of the June event, due to COVID19.  Below is their official statement.

After much consideration, El Paso Sun City Pride will be cancelling all in-person gatherings scheduled for the month of June 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
All large scale events such as Pride parades and festivals across the nation are being cancelled and El Paso is no different.
For over a decade, EPSCP has brought thousands of people together to celebrate while raising thousands of dollars in academic scholarships to support our LGBTQ+ community. We are committed to continue this legacy of work as we anticipate the 14th Annual El Paso Sun City Pride Festival in 2021.
No other event in West Texas touches such a varied and large demographic cross-section of residents and visitors, while bringing city-neighbors together to celebrate pride in our community. In the past we have been able to bring a variety of acts to the Sun City including RuPaul’s Dragrace winners, international DJs, singers and many more.
This year, the health and safety of our community is our first priority.
To our beloved West Texas community, we offer our deepest and most sincere apology for any inconvenience. Thank you for your patience, loyalty and continued support. We are looking into virtual and in-person events once we can be together again.
We encourage everyone to follow our Facebook page or visit our website for updates, www.suncitypride.org. Until then, raise your Pride flags in celebration and solidarity for our community and for our great City of El Paso as we bring awareneess to the opportunities of our movement.

***

***DPH announces 4 additional COVID19 deaths, total now at 18; Overall positive cases now at 887 (4/29/2020)

The City of El Paso Public Health Department is reporting four (4) additional COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 18.

The patients include a male in his 50s, a male in his 60s and a female in her 60s, all of who had underlying health conditions. The fourth patient was a female in her 60s who did not have underlying health conditions.

El Paso is also reporting 30 new COVID-19 cases bringing the county’s total number to 887. To-date 334 people have recovered from COVID-19; consequently, there are 535 active cases within the county.

Positive cases in El Paso County include 466 females and 421 males; see accompanying graphics and map. There are now 52 patients who are hospitalized, and 27 of those hospitalized are currently in ICU.

“We are saddened to report four new deaths due to COVID-19, and our hearts go out to the families of these individuals,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, City/County Health Authority. “It is important to remember that we have not reached the peak in El Paso County and it is essential that residents understand the severity of this virus. Even as the state works to reopen, each of us must still take responsibility to slow the spread of the virus and protect our most vulnerable loved ones. Remember, stay home if possible, practice social distancing, wash your hands, wear a face covering and avoid gatherings.”

City and County officials announced yesterday the amendment to the current Local Emergency Directive in response to Governor Abbott’s Executive Orders issued on April 27 calling to reopen the Texas economy. The amended directive will go into effect on Friday, May 1 at 12:01 a.m. and will incrementally start to reopen the economy.

Although the Stay Home, Work Safe Order in El Paso will end on Friday, May 1, Public Health officials urge the public to be responsible; adhere to their recommendations to stay home if possible, and continue to exercise social distancing, proper hygiene, and use face coverings. Social gatherings are strongly discouraged.

People over the age of 65 and other vulnerable populations are strongly encouraged to remain at home and limit contact with persons from outside their immediate household.

The updated Directive is available at www.epstrong.org under “Health Orders.” Residents are encouraged to report non-compliance by calling the police department non-emergency at (915) 832-4400 or 3-1-1.

The 21-COVID hotline is operational from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For referral to services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6). For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

 

 

***

***Cielo Vista, Sunland Park Malls, Outlet Shoppes of El Paso set to reopen (4/29/2020)

Simon Properties, parent company of Cielo Vista Mall, announced Wednesday that they would be reopening the mall starting Friday, May 1st.  The announcement came via a news release regarding Simon’s nationwide properties.

“As we communicated last week, we plan on reopening our properties as quickly and as safely as possible, officials shared on their webpage.  “We expect to open the following 49 properties May 1-May 4 based on current state and/or local stay-at-home or closure orders which are subject to change.”

Simon officials said their properties would follow CDC and social distancing guidelines, and set specific hours – Monday-Saturday: 11AM-7PM, Sunday: Noon-6PM – so that employees would have the opportunity to properly clean and disinfect their stores.

Across town, officials with Sunland Park Mall relayed their intention to open on Monday via an interview with ABC-7.  Officials told the station they would reopen Monday, May 4th.

Their hours of operation will be the same as Cielo Vista’s – 11:00am-7:00pm Monday through Saturday and 12:00pm-6:00pm Sunday.

As for the Outlet Shoppes of El Paso, per a post on their webpage, they will be opening on Friday, May 1st as well; however shoppers were directed to check the hours of each individual store via a link.”

We reached out to officials with the Fountains at Farah, and are awaiting their response.

For up to date information, visit: Cielo Vista Mall  |  Sunland Park Mall  |  Outlet Shoppes of El Paso  | Fountains at Farah

***

*** El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz: Churches will not reopen at this time (4/28/2020)

Bishop Mark Seitz, Bishop of the Diocese of El Paso, announced Tuesday night that the churches within the diocese would not be reopening at this time. Below is his letter to the region’s Catholic faithful.

The Governor of the State of Texas has announced that the Stay at Home order that he set in place some weeks ago will be allowed to expire this Friday. The order superseded local government orders in the city and county of El Paso.

However, the medical experts and our local leaders are telling us that in El Paso the onset of the community spread of the virus started later than the other large urban areas of the state.

At this point we have not yet flattened the curve in our region.

There are other factors of concern to me. The large crowds urban parishes bring together add risk and complexity to protocols that would allow a safe opening. Pastors are also telling me that the availability of sanitizer is an ongoing concern. Shortages make the disinfecting of churches uncertain at this time.

The Church also feels a great responsibility to set an example to the rest of our community. Opening our churches would convey at this point a false sense of security about the risks of public gatherings here in El Paso. Many of our most fervent members are also people in the categories of highest risk, our senior citizens and those with underlying health conditions.

For these reasons the Catholic churches in El Paso will not be opening their doors at this time. Mass will continue to be celebrated daily with only those people needed for the celebration and broadcast of the Mass and that number will always be limited to 10 or less.

Priests will still be available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation by appointment and for the Last Rites for those who are dying.

Protocols are being finalized for hospital visits under these circumstances. Deacons and priests remain available to provide pastoral counsel and prayer over the phone. I might add that our Catholic Counseling office’s professional therapists continue to offer assistance by phone and in person, all on a sliding scale according to a person’s means.

It is our sincere hope that within weeks the prevalence of the virus in our community will be at such a level that will permit an opening of our churches at least for smaller gatherings and private visits.

In the meantime I would ask all the faithful of the Diocese of El Paso to continue to be united in prayer. Take advantage of the many online offerings for Mass, prayer and ongoing education in your faith.

Please continue to stay connected with us via the MyParish app available for all mobile phone devices. You can download the MyParish app by texting the word app to 88202.

We will look forward with great anticipation to that day when we who are brothers and sisters with the Risen Christ will joyfully come together in His presence to be fed by Him once again.

Bishop Mark J. Seitz, DD
Bishop of El Paso

***

*** El Paso COVID19 cases now at 857; DPH reports total of 14 deaths (4/28/2020)

Mayor Dee Margo announced the total of positive COVID19 patients in the area is now at 857, with an additional 2 deaths for a total of 14.

Margo also announced the changes to the emergency order, enacted as the COVID-19 impact started making inroads here in the area.  The biggest change is that the “Stay Home, Work Safe” order will be lifted by Friday, and the city and county will largely operate under Governor Abbott’s guidelines for reopening the state.

“This is an imperfect balancing act between the public health and the economy,” Mayor Margo stated during the Tuesday evening virtural news conference. “Both are suffering.”

The mayor went on to say that residents were ‘strongly urged’ to stay home, continue to social distance, continue proper sanitary measures and continue the use of face coverings.  He added that all social gatherings were ‘strongly discouraged.’

Below is the official release.  To read the entire order, click here.

The City of El Paso Public Health Department is reporting two (2) additional COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 14. The female patient in her 70s and the male patient in his 50s both had underlying health conditions.

El Paso is also reporting 28 new COVID-19 cases bringing the county’s total number to 857. Positive cases in El Paso County include 454 females and 403 males. There are now 32 patients who are hospitalized, and 19 of those hospitalized are currently in ICU.

“We once again are saddened to report two new deaths due to COVID-19, and our hearts go out to the families of these two individuals,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, City/County Health Authority. “The public must understand that each person must take responsibility and take care of each other by staying home if possible, practice social distancing, washing their hands and wearing a face covering.”

City and County officials are in the process of amending the current Local Emergency Directive in response to Governor Abbott’s Executive Orders issued on April 27 calling to re-open the Texas economy. The amended directive will go into effect on Friday, May 1 at 12:01 a.m. and will incrementally start to re-open the economy.

“We will continue to address the public health needs of our community, while abiding by the Governor’s latest Executive Order to re-open Texas,” said Mayor Dee Margo. “This is an imperfect balancing act between our health and our economy. To re-open completely we must abide by social distancing, and stay home as much as possible.”

The amended directive will include:

Stay Home, Work Safe Order Lifted May 1

  • Consistent with state and national recommendations, El Pasoans are strongly urged to stay at home if they can, and continue to exercise social distancing, proper hygiene and use face coverings.

o   Social gatherings continue to be strongly discouraged.

o   People over the age of 65 or considered part of a vulnerable population are strongly encouraged to continue to remain at home and limit contact as much as possible with persons from outside their immediate household.

  • Businesses

o   Essential businesses which have been operating will be allowed to continue to operate with the safety protocols already in place.

o   Retail-to-Go businesses which have been operating will be allowed to continue to operate with the safety protocols already in place.

o   Additional businesses, including restaurants, retail stores, malls and movie theaters, will be allowed to open with certain restrictions:

  • Operate at 25% total listed occupancy only.
  • Operate with the same safety protocols in place for essential businesses and Retail-to-Go businesses.
  • Face coverings are required for all employees while working at essential businesses, Retail-to-Go operations or the newly reopened businesses allowed to operate at 25% capacity.
  • Golf courses and private tennis courts will be open and fishing will be allowed with safety protocols in place.

o   Tennis courts at private facilities may be utilized following the Local Health Authority’s Order or guidance.

  • City of El Paso parks will remain closed except for walking on designated walking paths.

o   Public park playgrounds, tennis courts and basketball courts will remain closed.

o   Playgrounds will remain closed.

  • City of El Paso museums and libraries will remain closed.

Residents are encouraged to report non-compliance by calling 3-1-1.

The 21-COVID hotline is operational from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For referral to services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6).

For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

 

***

*** 2nd EPISD Food Services employee tests positive for COVID-19 (4/28/2020)

A second El Paso Independent School District food-services employee who worked at the Logan Elementary meal distribution site has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and is now in quarantine, District officials announced Tuesday.

The employee is asymptomatic and has been in insolation at home since Friday. The employee worked at the Logan site where another staff member also tested positive for the virus last week.

The employees are not reporting to work.

“The EPISD Family is in full support of these our employees who work diligently and selflessly to provide much-needed meals to the children of El Paso during this pandemic,” said Superintendent Juan E. Cabrera. “We are working with all affected employees who are in self-isolation at this time.”

EPISD closed the Logan meal distribution site last week, and a thorough disinfecting plan for the campus is now in place. The meal distribution site for that area has been moved to Powell Elementary School.

All employees who worked with these staff members have been asked to self-quarantine for 14 days and will not report to work during that time period.

Out of an abundance of caution, any family who picked up meals at Logan last week are advised to monitor their health, follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines for people have had close contact with infected people, and contact their primary care physician if they develop symptoms.

EPISD will continue to monitor this situation and will provide additional information as needed.

***

***DPH: 829 COVID19 cases in area; No new deaths, tally remains at 12;  City reviews State’s Phased Plan to Reopen Texas (4/27/2020)

The City of El Paso Public Health Department is reporting 27 new COVID-19 cases bringing the county’s cumulative number to 829, the number of deaths remains at 12.
To date, 265 people have recovered from COVID-19; consequently, there are 552 active cases within the county. The cumulative cases in El Paso County include 436 females and 393 males; see accompanying graphics and map. There are currently 35 patients who are hospitalized, and 19 of those hospitalized are in ICU.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced his Open Texas plan this afternoon. Abbott, who issued three new executive orders, advised he would reopen businesses in Texas in several phases beginning May 1.
By way of Executive Order GA-18, Abbott said he would allow all retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and malls to open on Friday, May 1. These services must limit their capacity to 25 percent of their total listed occupancy. Salons, gyms, massage parlors, bars and clubs are to remain closed; and their status will be re-evaluated in mid-May.
Libraries and non-interactive museums may open May 1 and operate at 25 percent of their listed occupancy. The City has not yet made a decision on opening its facilities this Friday. Outdoor sports will be allowed, but limited to groups no larger than four, such as golf and tennis.
“We are in the process of reviewing the executive orders issued by Governor Abbott today and how they apply to our community,” said Mayor Dee Margo. “Creating a pathway to rebuild our economy while addressing critical public health needs, and continuing to slow the spread of the virus, is the City’s ultimate goal.”
City officials will evaluate Governor Abbott’s order and move forward with El Paso’s plan with emphasis on the health and wellness of our community. Noting the severity of COVID-19, health officials advise that it is critical El Paso move forward with caution and due diligence.
“It is critically important that we all do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Governor has begun planning the reopening of Texas, and so we must be thoughtful in our approach as to how we reopen our community per the State’s orders while still taking into account our community’s health,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, City/County Health Authority.
“The first line of defense against COVID-19 is to stay home when you can. If you need to leave your home for essential activities, we ask that you wear a cloth face covering. The public must remember there is no vaccine for this disease; which is why we continue to stress that each person must take responsibility and care for each other.”

***

*** EPCSO Deputy tests positive for COVID19 (4/27/2020)

An El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Deputy has tested positive for COVID-19. The deputy is assigned to a support unit and was not responding to calls for service or conducting patrol stops and functions.

Indications are that the deputy contracted the virus from a family member in their household who had recently tested positive for COVID-19. The deputy is currently observing quarantine guidelines at home.

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office continues to work with medical staff to implement necessary procedures and provide equipment to limit the outbreak of the virus in the workplace, this would include providing personal protective equipment to our personnel.

Additionally, screenings are required to gain access to any Sheriff’s Office building in order to ensure the safety and well-being of personnel and the public we serve.

***

***Gov. Abbott: Statewide stay at home order to expire at end of April; Proposes phases to reopen Texas businesses May 1st  (4/27/2020)

During a Monday afternoon news conference, Governor Greg Abbott said retail businesses, restaurants, movie theaters, and malls can re-open with 25% occupancy as Phase One of his plan this Friday, May 1st.

The governor started by highlighting the strength that Texans had shown, coming together to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus and saying that the state was now seeing a “decline in infections…over the past 17 days.”

Abbott introduced the phased reopening of businesses statewide. “We’re not just going to open up and hope for the best,” Abbott said. “Opening Texas must occur in phases.”

“This order allows all these businesses to reopen…it does not require them to do so,” the governor added.

Under the first phase, “vulnerable populations” like seniors should stay home as much as possible, Abbott said.

Abbott added all museums and libraries in the state can reopen under the same 25 percent capacity, but interactive areas with hands on exhibits must remain closed.

The Governor’s order supersedes local orders stating businesses must remain closed, but reopening is optional. Abbott said businesses can stay closed if they wanted to do so.

Also the governor said that – for the time being – he is holding off on reopening certain businesses, including gyms, bars, barbershops and hair salons. Abbott added that “he hopes those businesses can open on or no later than mid-May.”

If the plan’s first phase is successful, the governor said the state would then move to the next phase starting May 18, as long as there is no secondary “flare-up” of COVID-19 cases, Abbott said.

To view the entire news conference, click here.  |  To read the governor’s statement, click here.

***

*** EPISD Community Schools food pantry opens Tuesday at Guillen Middle School (4/27/2020)

EPISD’s Community Schools resumes its mobile food bank on Tuesday at Guillen Middle School, providing much needed meals to families needing support during the pandemic.  

“The mobile food pantry is available to the entire community and will be a tremendous support to our most vulnerable families during these challenging times due to the COVID-19 virus,” said Simon Chandler, EPISD Community Schools coordinator. “During the school closures, we had had to suspend the campus-based food pantries. Fortunately thanks to the amazing work of El Pasoans Fighting Hunger, we are able to host a weekly mobile food pantry at Guillen Middle School.”

EPISD Community Schools staff and AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers will be distributing canned goods, dried foods and fresh food from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays throughout the school closure for up to 500 families beginning tomorrow.

The distribution site is at Guillen Middle, 900 South Cotton Street

EPISD Community Schools had been operating once a month, school-based food pantries for the several years with El Pasoans Fighting Hunger.

***

***El Paso area now at 802 COVID19 Cases, No additional deaths reported on Sunday (4/26/2020)

The City of El Paso Public Health Department is reporting 22 new COVID-19 cases bringing the county’s cumulative number to 802, the number of deaths remains at 12.
To-date 185 people have recovered from COVID-19; consequently, there are 617 active cases within the county. The cumulative cases in El Paso County include 425 females and 377 males; see accompanying graphics and map. There are currently 38 patients who are hospitalized, and 18 of those hospitalized are in ICU.
“We are grateful to see people are recovering but the deaths we have seen are mostly made up of the most vulnerable. If someone in your household is sick, please self-quarantine. However, if you feel that being out in public is more important than the lives of those who are vulnerable to this disease, then please remember, if you do get sick and end up in the hospital, you will not be allowed to have friends and family over to comfort you,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, City/County Health Authority.
“Our most vulnerable residents such as our seniors, people with underlying health conditions and those who are immunocompromised are at greater risk. Do not risk their lives and keep your distance from them. It is everybody’s responsibility.”
In addition to abiding by the amended directive and avoiding any gatherings with anyone outside a person’s immediate household, it is important to minimize contact with those at greatest risk.
Based on what we know now, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are:
  • People 65 years and older
  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:
    • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
    • People who have serious heart conditions
    • People who are immunocompromised; including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications
    • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
    • People with diabetes
    • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
    • People with liver disease
Public health officials direct residents to use face coverings when out performing essential duties or tasks. Face coverings should be cleaned daily. Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose and mouth when removing their face covering and wash their hands immediately after removing the covering.
The 21-COVID hotline is operational from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For referral to services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6). To report non-compliance call 3-1-1 or visit www.epstrong.org.

 

***

***Health officials announce 780 cases of COVID19, Two more deaths raise total to 12 (4/25/2020)

The City of El Paso Public Health Department is reporting two (2) additional COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 12. Both patients are males with underlying health conditions, one in his 70s and the other in his 90s.
El Paso is also reporting 74 new COVID-19 cases bringing the county’s total number to 780. Positive cases in El Paso County include 416 females and 364 males; see accompanying graphics and map.
There are now 36 patients who are hospitalized, and 16 of those hospitalized are currently in ICU.
“We once again are saddened to report two new deaths due to COVID-19, and our hearts go out to the families of these two men. We are also extremely disappointed to report another large increase in the number of positive cases,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, City/County Health Authority. “The public must remember there is no vaccine for this disease; which is why we continue to stress that each person must take responsibility and follow the local directive. Everyone should strictly adhere to the directive by staying home and not go out unless it is for essential purposes. If you must go out wear a face covering and continue to wash your hands often with soap and water.”
Public health officials continue to remind residents that the Stay Home, Work Safe order remains in effect. Face coverings, such as bandanas, homemade cloth masks or scarves, should be worn over the nose and mouth when out in public and must be washed daily.
Individuals are reminded to be cautious to not touch their eyes, nose and mouth when removing their face covering and wash their hands immediately after removing the covering. If you wear gloves, make sure they are properly disposed of and worn appropriately. (See: What is Cross-Contamination?)
The signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. If these symptoms appear and do not improve, the person should contact their healthcare provider or seek medical attention.
The 21-COVID hotline is operational from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For referral to services contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6). For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***El Paso DPH: 706 cases of COVID19, Total deaths remain at 10 (4/24/2020)

The City of El Paso Public Health Department is reporting 32 new COVID-19 cases bringing the county’s total number to 706, the number of deaths remains at ten (10).

Positive cases in El Paso County include 371 females and 335 males; see accompanying graphics and map. There are now 38 patients who are hospitalized, and 26 of those hospitalized are currently in ICU.

“As our businesses look to the opportunity of reopening and our economy works to be reawakened, we must not forget about our community’s health,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, City/County Health Authority.

“Our numbers will keep increasing if we don’t adhere to the amended orders, stay at home, practice social distancing, and if we must go out and know that we will be interacting with others we must wear face coverings. We can prevent the spread of this virus by being responsible and taking care of yourself and others, but it will take all of us working together.”

In addition to abiding by the amended directive and avoiding any gatherings with anyone outside a person’s immediate household, public health officials direct residents to use face coverings when out performing essential duties or tasks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises the use of simple cloth face coverings can slow the spread of the virus by helping people, who may have the virus and do not know it, from transmitting it to others. (Guidelines – Click here)

It is also recommended that the face coverings be cleaned daily. Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose and mouth when removing their face covering and wash their hands immediately after removing the covering.

Failing to comply with the amended directives could result in a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500; but additional violations could result in a Class B misdemeanor, which can include a fine up to $1,000 or up to 180 days in jail.

***

*** EPISD food services employee tests positive for COVID-19 (4/24/2020)

The El Paso Independent School District was notified today that a Food Service employee who works at Logan Elementary has tested positive for COVID-19.

The employee is currently self-quarantining at home.

Logan Elementary is meal distribution site and will be closed down until further notice. Powell Elementary, at 4750 Ellerthorpe, will be used as an alternate meal distribution site.

“The District is concerned about the news of one of its own testing positive for this virus and we wish for a speedy recovery. We are in contact with the employee and will continue to provide any assistance,” said Superintendent Juan E. Cabrera. “We have taken precautions to maintain the safety of our meal distribution sites and will continue our commitment to provide healthy food to our students during these difficult times.”

All employees who worked with this staff member have been asked to self-quarantine for the next 14 days and will not report to work. Logan Elementary will be sanitized thoroughly.

Out of an abundance of caution, any family who picked up meals at Logan this week, are advised to monitor their health, follow the CDC guidelines for people who have had close contact, and contact their primary care physician if they develop symptoms.

EPISD will continue to monitor this situation and will provide additional information as needed.

***

***El Paso COVID19 cases increase to 674; DPH reports no new deaths (4/23/2020)

Thursday afternoon, Mayor Dee Margo announced that the number of COVID19 cases increased to 674, with no additional deaths.  Mayor Margo also added that the City and the County would now mandate face coverings/masks for all area residents.

As of today, the Department of Public Health (DPH) Paso is reporting 29 new COVID-19 cases bringing the county’s total number to 674, the number of deaths remains at ten (10).

Positive cases in El Paso County include 350 females and 324 males; see graphics and map below.

There are now 33 patients who are hospitalized, and 21 of those hospitalized are currently in ICU.

The City and County officials are amending the Emergency Directive that will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. tonight, April 23, and will remain in effect until further notice. The City and County of El Paso will incrementally re-open the economy with guidance from healthcare and business leaders.

The amended directive follows the States order for re-opening the economy to include:

Face Coverings

  • All individuals over the age of two (2), are to wear some form of face covering over their nose and mouth, while outside of their home or residence. A face covering may include face masks, cloth fabric coverings that fit snugly but comfortable against the side of the face and is secured with ties or ear loops, bandanas, scarves and neck gaiters.
  • Parents and guardians of children over the age of two (2) and under the age of ten (10) shall be responsible for appropriately masking children when outside their residence.
  • A face covering is not required on anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or exercising outdoors and not within 6 feet of any other individual not form the same household.
  • All non-residents in nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities and long-term care facilities shall wear a fabric face covering.
  • Wearing a face covering is not a substitute for maintaining 6-feet social distancing and hand-washing, as these remain important steps to slowing the spread of the virus.

 

Prohibited Activities

  • All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside or inside a single household or dwelling unit are prohibited.
  • Nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities are to minimize the movement of staff between facilities whenever possible and prohibit non-critical assistance visitors or providers, as determined through the guidance from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
  • Any public of private gatherings at any recreational area, park, pool or recreational facility is prohibited.

o   This includes hike and bike trails, whether formally recognized by the City or not; including, but not limited to any golfing in public or private courses; any gathering in school recreation areas, tennis clubs, and any other private recreational club; the area near Socorro Independent School District Student Activities Complex (“SAC”) located near 1300 Joe Battle Boulevard; all to include the use of any type of recreational vehicle at any outdoor area.

  • Residents can walk and run along established walking paths that exist adjacent to streets, parks or within parks; but are prohibited from using trails and trailheads
  • Franklin Mountains State Park shall remain closed until further notice.

Retail-to-Go: Guidance for Employers, Employees and Customers

  • Requirements

o   All employees must be trained on environmental cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette

o   All employees must be screened before coming into the business for new or worsening cough; shortness of breath; sore throat; loss of taste or smell; feeling feverish or measured temperature greater than or equal to 100 degrees Fahrenheit; or known close contact with a person who is lab-confirmed to have COVID19. Any employee who meets any of these criteria should be sent home

o   Upon entering the business, employees must wash or sanitize hands

o   All employees must wear face coverings

o   Employees must maintain at least 6 feet separation from one another

How to Purchase Goods from Re-Opened Retail Businesses

  • Customers may purchase items from retail location for pickup, delivery by mail, or delivery to the customer’s doorstep but may not enter the premises.
  • Retail to go guidelines:

o   All payments should be done over the phone or internet if possible and contact should be minimized if remote payment is not available

o   Purchased items should be delivered by the employee to the backseat or trunk of the customer’s vehicle whenever possible to minimize physical contact with the customer

o   Employees must wash or sanitize their hands after each interaction with a customer, and whenever possible. Must disinfect any item that came into contact with the customer

  • Retail delivery to customer’s doorstep:

o   All payments should be done over the phone or internet if possible, and contact would be minimized if remote payment is not available

o   Purchased items should be delivered by an employee or third-party carrier and delivered to the customer’s doorstep. The employee or third-party carrier may not enter the customer’s house or business

  • Retail delivery by mail:

o   All payments must be done over the phone or internet

o   Purchased items should be delivered by mail without customer contact

  • The customer should wash or sanitize their hands after the transaction.

The directive still allows the public to visit grocery stores, gas stations, and banks, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

The updated order with additional changes is available at www.EPStrong.org under “Health Orders.” Residents are encouraged to report non-compliance by calling 3-1-1.

The 21-COVID hotline is operational from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For referral to services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6). For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

*** Viva! El Paso cancels 2020 Season (4/23/2020)

Via a post on their Facebook page, officials announced the cancellation of the Viva! El Paso 2020 performance season.  The announcement comes a little over a month after officials had decided to postpone the start of this year’s annual performances.

Their complete statement is below:

The El Paso Community Foundation & El Paso Live regret to announce the cancellation of Viva! El Paso in the McKelligon Canyon Amphitheatre for 2020.

We hope to focus during this unprecedented time on our community and will be working towards bringing the show back in 2021!

Safety concerns and insufficient time to prepare the production due to the coronavirus pandemic led to the cancellation of the 43rd season of the annual historical musical, which was scheduled for Fridays and Saturdays, June 19 through July 24 in the outdoor theater.

Auditions were scheduled for March 26-28 but were postponed indefinitely due to emergency guidelines. Rehearsals were to begin in April, but also were postponed indefinitely.

Organizers hoped to salvage a shorter run of this year’s show, but growing uncertainty about when auditions and rehearsals can be rescheduled, venues can reopen, and live events can return factored into the decision.

“We regret that we have to take this year off in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our desire to help flatten the curve of illness in our community,” said Eric Pearson, President and CEO of the El Paso Community Foundation.

“We hope to focus during this unprecedented time on our community and will be working towards bringing back this spectacular show as soon as it is safe,” said Bryan Crowe, General Manager of Destination El Paso.

Viva! El Paso is produced by a partnership of the El Paso Community Foundation and El Paso Live

***

*** DPH: El Paso area has 645 cases; Officials announce 10th death (4/21/2020)

The City of El Paso Public Health Department is reporting one (1) additional COVID-19 death, for a total number of ten (10) deaths. The patient was a male in his 70s with underlying medical conditions.

The City is also reporting 58 new COVID-19 cases bringing the county’s total number to 645. Positive cases in El Paso County include 332 females and 313 males; see accompanying graphics and map. There are 35 patients who are hospitalized, and 18 of those hospitalized are currently in ICU.

“It is critically important that we all do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19. We are still seeing double digit in the number of positive cases and we have not reached our peak, which is why we keep insisting that people need to stay home and avoid leaving your home unless absolutely necessary,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, City/County Health Authority.

“If you must leave your home for essential activities, then wear a cloth face covering. It is imperative to remember, cloth face coverings and gloves are not a replacement for proper social distancing, frequent handwashing and self-isolation when sick.”

Public health officials continue to remind residents that the Stay Home order remains in effect and urges the community to use face coverings when out performing essential duties or tasks. Face coverings should be washed daily. Individuals are reminded to be cautious to not touch their eyes, nose and mouth when removing their face covering and wash their hands immediately after removing the covering. If you wear gloves, make sure they are properly disposed of and worn appropriately. (See: What is Cross-Contamination)

The signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. If these symptoms appear and do not improve, the person should contact their healthcare provider or seek medical attention.

The 21-COVID hotline is operational from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For referral to services contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6). For more information visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***Domino’s Pizza donates 300+ Pizzas to University Medical Center, El Paso Children’s Hospital (4/21/2020)

This week, Domino’s Pizza has proven its slogan: “It’s what we do” by delivering donated pizzas to University Medical Center the last three days.

“We are so touched by the community’s outpouring and concern for our healthcare heroes and associates of both hospitals,” said Estela Casas, Executive Director of UMC and El Paso Children’s Hospital Foundation. “Domino’s Pizza has raised the bar in compassion and generosity!”

The donation has come through the COVID-19 Compassionate Care Fund. Donations can be made by clicking here.

***

*** NM Governor Extends “Stay Home” Order to May 15th – 71 Total Deaths, 7 New Cases in Dona Ana County (4/21/2020)

During a Wednesday afternoon update, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the state’s Stay at Home Public Health Order is officially extended through May 15th, 2020.

Additionally, New Mexico state health officials announced 139 additional positive tests for COVID-19, with 82 total cases in Dona Ana County, and 3 in Otero County.

For a full update on COVID-19 information, and news from Las Cruces and the Southern New Mexico area, visit our news partners at Las Cruces Today.

***

***Canutillo students to receive free meals for weekends (4/22/2020)

Starting this Friday, April 24, the Canutillo ISD Child Nutrition Department will be distributing breakfast and lunch for the weekend to children ages 18 and under on Fridays.

“We will continue to find ways to serve our students and community,” CISD Child Nutrition Director Marco Macias said. “It is a challenging time for everyone right now and meals on weekends are one less thing to worry about.”

Bus delivery and curbside pickup of meals resume Monday through Friday. In order to continue to protect the health of all, breakfast and lunch are combined to minimize contact.

Buses distribute breakfast and lunch at designated bus stops. Students that wish to pick up meals at the bus stop, see the full list here.

If parents prefer drive-thru curbside pickup, it is available from 11:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the following schools:

  • Canutillo High School
  • Childress Elementary
  • Canutillo Elementary
  • Garcia Elementary
  • Davenport Elementary (curbside pick-up from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.)

Parents receiving meals for children at any of the distribution sites need only show documentation and no longer need to bring their children. Participating locations and available on the district website

**

To read previous local information/releases, click on the dates below: 

March 3rd thru 9th   |   March 10th through 12th  |  March 13 through 15  |   March 15 thru 19th  |  March 20th thru 24th

March 25th thru 30th   |   March 31st thru April 7th  |  April 8th thru 21st

About Staff Report

Staff Reports are just that, Staff Reporting the news. No skew, no opinion just the news. We pride ourselves on making sure that we bring you the news as soon as it is published, submitted or sent to us. No need to have a reporter rewrite or give their opinion. The facts or information, nothing more.

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