Sunday, amidst the Covid-19 surge, health officials urged the region’s residents to stay home and follow guidelines, as Governor Greg Abbott announced that the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) is establishing an alternate care site at the El Paso Convention Center in Downtown El Paso to expand hospital capacity in the region.
“The alternate care site and auxiliary medical units will reduce the strain on hospitals in El Paso as we contain the spread of COVID-19 in the region,” said Governor Abbott. “We continue to work closely with local officials in El Paso and provide resources to reduce hospitalizations, mitigate the spread, and keep the people of El Paso safe.”
Opening this week, the alternate care site will be located at the El Paso Convention and Performing Arts Center and have a capacity of 50 beds and can expand to 100 beds if needed.
The facility will provide El Paso with additional hospital beds, medical equipment, and medical personnel to assist with the region’s COVID-19 response.
Meanwhile, the Department of Public Health (DPH) and Office of Emergency Management are urging the public to adhere to all established health orders and guidelines to the fullest for the next two weeks in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community: most importantly the appeal to stay home.
“With the surge of hospitalizations, we need the public to understand the strain our local health services and hospitals are currently going through,” said Public Health Director Angela Mora. “Moreover, with fewer hospital beds available due to the spike in COVID-19 patients seeking medical attention, this could adversely affect healthcare services for persons with everyday non-COVID medical conditions and medical emergencies such as heart attacks, strokes and vehicular accidents.”
City and County officials have and continue to work together to obtain additional support from state and federal agencies to include expanded testing and additional medical personnel and equipment to area hospitals to address community needs.
“In less than three weeks we’ve spiked from 259 to 786 COVID related hospitalizations—a 300 percent increase. If we continue on this trend, we risk detrimental effects to our entire healthcare system,” Mora added. “For the sake of those hospitalized and the frontline healthcare workers working tirelessly each day to care for them, we ask you to please stay home for two weeks and eliminate your interactions with those outside your household until we can flatten the curve.”
Due to the surge in local positive cases, the City and County implemented additional restrictions and enforcement will be applied to the fullest as well as fines issued to those who do not follow local health orders such as:
· Wearing a face covering while out in public,
· Social gathering inside or outdoors with non-household members or with groups of more than ten (10) people,
· Businesses who do not comply with monitoring customers and employees practicing safety protocols such as face covering while in their business, practicing social distance and not making sanitizer available.
Residents are urged to remain at home unless for out for essential activities.
“While out conducting essential business individuals should go alone or be accompanied by only one other person and always practice safety protocols by keeping a social distance from others, having proper hygiene, washing hands often, sanitizing hands and always wearing a face cover while out in public,” DPH officials said.
Additionally, at the direction of Governor Abbott, TDEM and the Texas Department of State Health Services have deployed auxiliary medical units (AMU) to provide onsite surge capacity for local hospitals. The state is providing a fully-supplied and staffed AMU which can provide up to 100 beds on site at a local hospital.
The state has already provided over 900 medical personnel to El Paso, some of which will staff the AMU. The state continues to coordinate with city, county, and hospital officials to provide additional medical staffing, equipment, and bed capacity at their request.
Below are helpful numbers:
- PD Non-Emergency 915-832-4400
Contact Police non-emergency at 915-832-4400, on any COVID-19; guidelines that are not being enforced or followed. (no facial coverings, not following the social distancing guidelines, gatherings over 10 people, restaurant capacity etc., to our current local directive).
- City COVID-19 Collection Site 915-212-0783
Contact the collection site if you would like to schedule an appointment for any of the two City sites or to reschedule the appointment you have made online at epstrong.org. For additional testing sites, visit epstrong.org under the Testing Tab.
- Epi Triage Line 915-212-6520
Contact the Epi Triage Line to self-report a positive result and to get test results for individuals tested by the Department of Public Health (DPH) Laboratory ONLY.
- 21- COVID Hotline
Contact the 21-COVID Hotline to get information about COVID-19 prevention and resources.
Contact 311 to report any past or future incidents relative to the city’s COVID 19 guideline set in place by our city government.
For more COVID-19 information to include testing, data and prevention, visit www.epstrong.org.