FILE: El Paso County Judge Richard Samaniego
On Wednesday afternoon, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego announced an extension of his region-wide ‘Stay at Home Order,’ due to the continued surge of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Judge Samaniego’s new order, Number 14, extends the shutdown through Tuesday, December 1st at 12:00 a.m. The judge stressed that the order is temporary in nature, not permanent, and that following the existing order has helped.
“I really believe that the less we congregate and if this wasn’t the essence – the spirt of the order – was to stop the mobility and the transmission of this virus…so by staying home we obviously have that impact,” Samaniego said during his online news conference.
Having said that, the county judge announced the extension of the Stay at Home Order – now numbered 14 – through December 1st, encompassing the Thanksgiving Holidays.
“I know it will be difficult for us not to gather, however we must all take personal responsibility to protect our loved ones, our friends and our neighbors. We as a community did not fare well with prior holidays, and are still dealing with the domino effects and the peaks we encountered during these holidays,” the Judge added.
The judge also provided an update on the court case against his original ‘Stay at Home Order #13.’ According to the judge, on Monday November 9th, the Texas Attorney General asked the Texas Supreme Court to immediately halt the order.
Wednesday morning, the county learned that the Texas Supreme Court denied that request, allowing the Texas 8th Court of Appeals to decide the legal issues surrounding order #13.
According to the judge, the 8th Court is expected to rule on Thursday on the “emergency relief requesting an injunction, and the merits on Friday,” essentially meaning that the county’s original order will continue in effect until Friday.
“This means that the County’s Order – number 13 remains in effect,” the judge plainly stated, then restated to the viewers of the streaming update.
Samaniego added, “I remain optimistic that the 8th Court of Appeals will make a decision in the best interests of the El Paso community, as our hospitals continue to be overwhelmed.”
“Every day that the county’s order remains in effect, is another day we can save lives; it is another day that we can provide at least some relief to our health care workers who are extremely exhausted…I think one of the – the thing that moves me so much, and it’s difficult to understand the amount of work and the amount of intensity that you find in our health care workers, every single day.”
The judge added his condolences to those who have lost loved ones and those who continue to struggle with the virus and it’s aftermath.
According to the judge, the county now has six mobile morgues in use, with four standing by and another four inbound for use. Currently 51% of El Paso hospitalizations are Covid-19 related.
“Seeing those mobile units is extremely difficult for any El Pasoan; anyone to understand that there are souls from El Paso in those units, is really a difficult and trying situation,” the judge added.
The county judge turned his attention to the business aspect and the community’s dedication to his ‘Stay at Home Order.’
“It is a temporary order, based on numbers, I can assure you that if we all rally together, and I can engage the business community – that is a very big part of my own life – to rally with us, for a short period of time, the impact that it will have on our community will be much less if we do so…or it will be prolonged if we don’t.”
To view the entire news conference, click ‘play’ below…