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Home | Tag Archives: el paso covid

Tag Archives: el paso covid

El Paso-area Coronavirus Archive Stories from May 16th through May 31st

This archive page of our El Paso-area Coronavirus Information has releases and information from May 16th through May 31st

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***

***(5/31/2020)

On Sunday, the City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) reported an additional 60 positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the area’s total to 2764. There are no additional deaths to report, so the total remains at 78.

To date, 1618 patients have recovered with 1068 active cases in El Paso County. 103 patients are currently hospitalized, with 54 in ICU and 31 on ventilators.

Overall, DPH officials estimate that 34,800 total tests have been performed; with their own lab having performed 5393 tests, with 4675 negative results.

Residents are reminded that the Texas Military Department Mobile Testing Team (TMD-MTT) will continue COVID-19 testing in El Paso through June 2 at the four mobile testing sites and various rural community sites.

TMD-MTT testing locations are drive-thru and by appointment only. Citizens are asked to make an appointment 24 hours prior to the testing date either online or by calling 512- 883-2400.

Testing is free and available to members of the community with or without COVID-19 symptoms. Testing within the City of El Paso is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the following dates and locations:

May 30 through June 2:

· Armijo Recreation Center and Pool; 710 E 7th Ave, El Paso, TX

· Nations Tobin Park; 8831 Railroad Dr., El Paso, TX

· Esperanza Acosta Moreno Library; 12480 Pebble Hills Blvd, El Paso, TX

· Memorial Swimming Pool; 3251 Copper Ave., El Paso, TX

Testing in the rural communities is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the following dates and locations:

· May 30: Tornillo ISD Administrative Building; 19200 Cobb Ave., Tornillo, TX

· June 1: Horizon First Baptist Church; 17018 Darrington Road, Horizon City, TX

· June 2: San Elizario Fire Station; 1415 San Antonio Rd., San Elizario, TX

For more information about the various public and private testing locations throughout the community click here or visit, www.epstrong.org.

***

***(5/30/2020)

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) is reporting one (1) additional COVID-19 death for a total number of 78. The death is a female patient in her 50s with underlying health conditions.

“We are once again sending our deepest condolences to the family of another member of our community,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, City/County Local Health Authority. “And once again we are urging the public to please heed our warnings and develop those healthy habits that we continuously repeat; because there is no vaccine for this virus at this time to protect us. The best option we have is prevention.”

El Paso is also reporting 81 new COVID-19 cases bringing the county’s total number to 2,704. To-date 1,602 people have recovered from COVID-19. There are 1,024 active cases within the county.

For additional data and charts, visit www.epstrong.org.

TESTING STILL AVAILABLE

Residents are reminded that the Texas Military Department Mobile Testing Team (TMD-MTT) will continue COVID-19 testing in El Paso through June 2 at the four mobile testing sites and various rural community sites.

TMD-MTT testing locations are drive-thru and by appointment only. Citizens are asked to make an appointment 24 hours prior to the testing date either online or by calling 512- 883-2400.

Testing is free and available to members of the community with or without COVID-19 symptoms. Testing within the City of El Paso is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the following dates and locations:

May 30 through June 2:

  • Armijo Recreation Center and Pool; 710 E 7th Ave, El Paso, TX
  • Nations Tobin Park; 8831 Railroad Dr., El Paso, TX
  • Esperanza Acosta Moreno Library; 12480 Pebble Hills Blvd, El Paso, TX
  • Memorial Swimming Pool; 3251 Copper Ave., El Paso, TX

Testing in the rural communities is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the following dates and locations:

  • May 30: Tornillo ISD Administrative Building; 19200 Cobb Ave., Tornillo, TX
  • June 1: Horizon First Baptist Church; 17018 Darrington Road, Horizon City, TX
  • June 2: San Elizario Fire Station; 1415 San Antonio Rd., San Elizario, TX

For more information about the various public and private testing locations throughout the community visit, www.epstrong.org.

***

***(5/29/2020)

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) is reporting five (5) COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 77.

The patients, all of whom had underlying health conditions, include:

  • a female in her 60s
  • a male in his 70s
  • 2 (two) males in their 80s
  • a male in his 90s

“We send our sincerest condolences to the families who lost a parent, a grandparent, a spouse, a friend, a loved one to this disease,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, City/County Local Health Authority.

“What makes this virus even more difficult might be the emotional toll, because if you end up in the hospital, you are isolated and unable to have family and friends comfort you,” Ocaranza continued. “We urge the public, especially now as more businesses open up, that while we encourage everyone to support our local economy, be smart about it. Be strict and develop good habits when practicing social distancing, including wearing a mask, washing your hands, staying home if sick and limiting your interaction with loved ones who you know are at high risk.”

El Paso is also reporting 54 new COVID-19 cases bringing the county’s total number to 2,623. To-date 1,508 people have recovered from COVID-19; and so there are 1,038 active cases within the county.

Health officials continue advising the public that infected persons with little to no symptoms can still spread the virus to others. Our most vulnerable residents such as our seniors, people with underlying health conditions and those who are immunocompromised are at greatest risk of becoming seriously ill or even dying.

Health questions about COVID-19 can be made by calling the 21-COVID hotline, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For referrals to services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6).

For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(5/28/2020) City and County officials have amended the Local Emergency Directive to align with Texas Governor Abbott’s May 22 and 26 Proclamations allowing additional businesses to re-open while abiding by specific guidelines.

“Balancing public and economic health is critical during this unprecedented time, so everyone needs to continue doing their part by following health guidelines,” said Mayor Dee Margo. “I will continue working with the Governor to ensure El Paso has the necessary resources as he continues the reopening of our State.”

The Directive will be amended to:

  • Allow for food-court dining areas within shopping malls to open, keeping with social distancing guidelines and ensuring all areas are cleaned and disinfected properly; and
  • Allow driver education programs to operate at up to 25 percent of their total listed occupancy. Driving schools must ensure at least 6 feet social distancing between students and instructors except when receiving in-car instructions or participating in a DPS road test.

The Directive will also amend the following starting at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 29, 2020, to allow:

  • Outdoor motorsports events to open at up to 25 percent of the normal operating limits as determined by the venue owner and that operate under guidelines that facilitate appropriate social distancing.
  • Water parks to open at up to 25 percent of the normal operating limits as determined by the venue owner. Indoor water parks may operate at up to 25 percent of the total listed occupancy of the water park. All components that have video arcades must remain closed. City water parks will remain closed until further notice.

The Directive will also amend the following starting at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, May 31, 2020, to allow:

  • Recreational sports programs for adults to begin hosting practices. However, all games and competitions will not be allowed to begin until June 15. City facilities, including Parks and Recreation facilities and areas will remain closed until further notice.

“As the Governor continues to expand the reopening of Texas, we must be very thoughtful in our approach, because we want to address not only the physical and mental health of our community, but the economic health as well,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, City/County Local Health Authority. “We understand the desire to return back to normal, but we must acknowledge that there is a new reality for the world, so we must be cautious in our approach to make sure we are caring for ourselves and for our most vulnerable. This is why we have increased our testing efforts and continue to urge you to practice social distancing, wear face coverings, and wash your hands with soap and water. We can reopen our community in a smart and safe way, but we need each person to take responsibility and care for each other.”

The updated Local Directive once completed and executed will be made available at www.epstrong.org under “Health Orders.”

For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(5/28/2020)

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) is reporting four (4) COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 72.

The patients, all of whom had underlying health conditions, include:

  • two females both in their 50s
  • one female in her 60s
  • one male in his 70s

“Every death is not just a number. Each of these individuals are someone’s loved one and we grieve with them for their loss,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, City/County Health Authority. “We are also reporting another large spike in positive cases; and until the community understands the seriousness of this virus and holds themselves accountable we are likely to continue seeing more deaths and more spikes.”

El Paso is also reporting 108 new COVID-19 cases bringing the county’s total number to 2,569. To-date 1,465 people have recovered from COVID-19; and so there are 1,032 active cases within the county.

Health officials again strongly advise the public to continue practicing social distancing, wear a face covering, stay home if you are sick, and wash your hands with soap and water. 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.

Infected persons with little to no symptoms can still spread the virus to others and the people they spread it to may become seriously ill or even die, especially if the person is one of our most vulnerable residents such as our seniors, people with underlying health conditions and those who are immunocompromised.

Health questions about COVID-19 can be made by calling the 21-COVID hotline, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For referrals to services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6).

For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(5/27/2020) The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) is reporting eight (8) COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 68.

The patients, all of whom had underlying health conditions, include:

  • two females both in their 80s
  • one female in her 90s
  • one male in his 40s
  • one male in his 50s
  • one male in his 60s
  • one male in his 70s
  • one male in his 80s

El Paso is also reporting 68 new COVID-19 cases bringing the county’s total number to 2,461. To-date 1,385 people have recovered from COVID-19; and so there are 1,008 active cases within the county.

“It is a devastating day for our community. I’m at a loss for words to explain the depth of our sorrow,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, City/County Health Authority. “The majority of the deaths we have seen are made up of our most vulnerable residents such as our seniors, people with underlying health conditions and those who are immunocompromised. We ask the community not to risk their lives. We urge everyone to please do your part to keep your loved ones safe.”

The virus that causes COVID-19 is still active in our community. Health officials strongly advise the public to continue practicing social distancing, wear a face covering, stay home if you are sick, and wash your hands with soap and water. 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.

Even infected persons with little to no symptoms can spread the virus to others and the people they spread it to may become seriously ill or even die, especially if that person is 65 or older with pre-existing health conditions.

Health questions about COVID-19 can be made by calling the 21-COVID hotline, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For referrals to services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6). For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(5/26/2020) City and YISD Partner to Expand COVID-19 Testing

The Department of Public Health (DPH), the El Paso City-County Office of Emergency Management and Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) are collaborating to begin offering free COVID-19 drive-thru testing at three sites beginning today, Tuesday, May 26.

The three sites, which are open to the public by appointment only are:

  • YISD Central Office, 9600 Sims Drive
  • Ysleta Pre-K Center, 7940 Craddock
  • North Star Elementary School, 5950 Sean Haggerty Drive

The testing is available from 8 a.m. to noon Monday-Friday beginning today, May 26 through June 5, with the district providing security and nursing staff to conduct and oversee testing.

Testing is open to everyone, even those who are currently asymptomatic, if they have reason to believe they have been exposed to COVID-19.  A doctor referral is not needed.

Any member of the public can request an appointment for COVID-19 testing at the YISD sites by calling the district’s hotline at (915)434-1092 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.

For more information about the various public and private testing locations throughout the community click here or visit, www.EPStrong.org.

For information about YISD, visit www.yisd.net.

***

***(5/26/2020) The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) is reporting two (2) additional COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 60.

The patients are two men, one in his 50s and another in his 70s, both had underlying conditions.

El Paso is also reporting 17 new COVID-19 cases bringing the county’s total number to 2,393. To-date 1,335 people have recovered from COVID-19; and so there are 998 active cases within the county.

“We are again extremely disappointed to advise the public of the loss of two lives,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, City/County Health Authority. “Last week’s three days of triple digit increases tells us that this virus is still active in our community. There is no vaccine for this disease and so we cannot be apathetic about taking care of our health and that of our loved ones. We all wish to see our curve flatten, but that can only happen if we all practice social distancing, wear a face covering, stay home if sick and washing your hands with soap and water.”

Even infected persons with little to no symptoms can spread the virus to others and the people they spread it to may become seriously ill or even die, especially if that person is 65 or older with pre-existing health conditions.

Health questions about COVID-19 can be made by calling the 21-COVID hotline, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For referrals to services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6). For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

 

***(5/26/2020)CBP Extends Temporary Closure of Trusted Traveler Program Enrollment Centers Until July 6

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has extended the temporary closure of Trusted Traveler Program enrollment centers until at least July 6, 2020. CBP is taking this precautionary measure to minimize the exposure of the public and CBP personnel to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The temporary closure applies to all public access Global Entry enrollment centers, NEXUS enrollment centers, SENTRI enrollment centers and FAST enrollment locations. Global Entry mobile enrollment events are also paused until further notice.

Conditionally-approved Trusted Traveler Program applicants who seek an interview at an enrollment center will need to reschedule their appointment using the online scheduling tool after July 6. These applicants are encouraged to check their e-mail and Trusted Traveler Program accounts for further information. CBP will continue to monitor the situation in order to resume enrollment center interviews as soon as possible.

CBP’s Enrollment on Arrival program will remain operational. Conditionally-approved Global Entry applicants will be able to complete the enrollment process when arriving on an international flight at any of the airports that offer this program.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CBP extended the period of time that Trusted Traveler Program applications remain active. All applicants now have 485 days from the date that CBP conditionally approves their application to complete the enrollment process.  In addition, CBP will extend for up to 18 months the Trusted Traveler Program benefits of members who apply for renewal before their current membership expires.

CBP’s highest priority is to ensure the health, safety and security of our workforce and the American people. CBP agents, officers and mission support personnel will continue to support the whole-of-America response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

***

***(5/25/2020) On Monday, Department of Health officials announced that the El Paso area now has a total of 2,376 COVID-19 cases, an increase of 36 over the previous day’s total.

According to DPH officials, there are 1,267 recovered cases and 1,051 active cases within El Paso County.  No new deaths were reported, so the overall total remains at 58. 
 
926 patients are currently being monitored by the DPH, with 112 patients hospitalized, 66 in ICU and 18 on ventilators.
Officials added that there were 799 test results pending.  Overall 26,000 tests have been performed, with 4,205 patients tested by the DPH, resulting 3,514 negative test results.
DPH officials point out that the number is an estimate, based on daily reporting by private labs; additionally, not all private labs report the numbers daily.
Health questions about COVID-19 can be made by calling the 21-COVID hotline, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For referrals to services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6). For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(5/24/2020) Health Officials Release Cluster Data

Earlier Sunday, the City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) published 75 new COVID-19 cases on the City’s website bringing the county’s total number to 2,340.

Of the 2,340 positive cases, 813 cases are related to a cluster, a collection of two (2) or more cases of the virus in the same area at the same time.

To date there are ten (10) clusters seen at one of 120 facilities. These include:

  • Care facilities for the elderly (21 facilities, 216 cases)
  • General businesses (40 facilities, 187 cases)
  • Healthcare facilities (26 facilities, 180 cases)
  • Correctional-Detention facilities (six facilities, 102 cases)
  • Government (13 facilities, 52 cases)
  • Call centers (five facilities, 33 cases)
  • Big Box stores (six facilities, 15 cases)
  • Construction (four facilities, 12 cases)
  • Schools (four facilities, 12 cases)
  • Shelters (one facility, four cases)

DPH also reported the source of exposure being about 50 percent close contact (family members, friends or co-workers); about 20 percent community-transmitted (cases occurring among those who did not have any known contact with infected persons); about 20 percent travel-related and about 10 percent of the cases are under investigation. Please see accompanying graphics.

During the DPH epidemiological investigation on positive cases, patients are interviewed to determine their condition and immediate needs, to provide isolation orders and guidance, and to elicit information on potentially exposed contacts needed for contact tracing.

Contact tracing is conducted as an effort to determine possible spread of infection and implement measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. The investigation can lead to identifying clusters of people who might be infected within the same location.

“Clusters, or multiple infections within the same setting, is just one of the reasons we urge the community to practice social distancing; to stay home whenever possible; to not go out if you’re feeling sick; wear a face covering and to avoid large gatherings,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, City/County Health Authority.

“Our contact tracers work quickly to identify those who might have been exposed, where they might have been exposed and recommend isolation/quarantine. This is how it is possible to find clusters. When one is found, in many ways is like setting off an alarm. Once the alarm goes off, you must respond quickly because every moment wasted will allow the virus to spread further. The faster the infected individuals are identified and isolated, the better chance we have to reduce and control the spread. However, we need the public’s cooperation to do their part, heed our warnings and help reduce the risk of infection that might lead to more deaths and families left without a loved one.”

The public is once again reminded that even infected persons with little to no symptoms can spread the virus to others and every person must work to protect each other, especially those who are the most vulnerable (person 65 or older and/or with pre-existing health conditions).

For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(5/24/2020) Sunday morning, officials with the Department of Health released an update of COVID-19 data for the El Paso area.

DPH officials posted that there are 2,340 positive cases within El Paso County, an increase of 75 over Saturday’s numbers

There were no additional deaths reported, so the total remains at 58; there are 1,237 recovered cases and 1,045 active cases

Overall 25,100 tests have been performed, with 3,995 patients tested by the DPH, resulting 3,307 negative test results.  DPH officials point out that the number is an estimate, based on daily reporting by private labs; additionally, not all private labs report the numbers daily.

There are 920 patients being monitored by the DPH, with 109 patients currently hospitalized, 61 in ICU and 20 on ventilators.

Health questions about COVID-19 can be made by calling the 21-COVID hotline, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For referrals to services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6). For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

 

***

***(5/23/2020) Via a data update on the EPStrong website, the Department of Health released the latest COVID-19 numbers for El Paso County.

As of Saturday morning, there were 2,265 total COVID-19 cases in the county, with 1,208 recoveries and 999 active cases.  According to the posted results, there were no additional deaths reported, keeping the total at 58.

According to the posted numbers, there were 3,679 patients tested by the DPH, with 2,977 negative test results.  Overall 24,000 tests have been performed.  DPH officials point out that the number is an estimate, based on daily reporting by private labs; additionally, not all private labs report the numbers daily.

There are 402 pending test results from the DPH lab, with another 920 patients monitored.  116 patients are currently hospitalized, with 66 in ICU and 22 on ventilators.

Health questions about COVID-19 can be made by calling the 21-COVID hotline, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For referrals to services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6). For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(5/22/2020) The Texas Military Department Mobile Testing Team (TMD-MTT) will continue COVID-19 testing in El Paso through June 2 at one of the four mobile testing sites and various rural community sites.

At the ongoing request of El Paso Mayor Dee Margo and the Office of Emergency Management, the Office of the Texas Governor and the Texas Department of Emergency Management agreed to extend the testing in El Paso County for both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals.

Additionally, residents are reminded of the COVID-19 testing at the Leo Cancellare Pool managed by Urgent Care for Families.

  • When: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday

Test site will be closed on May 25 in observance of Memorial Day.

  • Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Where: 650 Wallenburg Dr.
  • Cost: Free of charge for those who have Medicaid, Medicare, those who are uninsured, and accepts all forms of insurance.
  • How: Appointments are available at www.urgentcarekids.com/testsite

TMD-MTT TESTING

The TMD-MTT testing locations are drive-thru and by appointment only. Citizens are asked to make an appointment 24 hours prior to the testing date either online or by calling 512-883-2400.

Testing is free and available to members of the community with or without COVID-19 symptoms. Although not required for testing, signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, chills, cough, fatigue, body aches, muscle or joint pain, shortness of breath, sore throat, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, nasal congestion, and loss of taste and/or smell.

If residents do not call or register for an appointment, they can still show up at the site and will be instructed to either register on their phone or call the number to schedule accordingly.

Testing within the City of El Paso is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the following dates and locations:

May 23 & 24:

  • Armijo Recreation Center and Pool; 710 E 7th Ave, El Paso, TX
  • Nations Tobin Park; 8831 Railroad Dr., El Paso, TX
  • Esperanza Acosta Moreno Library; 12480 Pebble Hills Blvd, El Paso, TX
  • Memorial Swimming Pool; 3251 Copper Ave., El Paso, TX

May 26 through June 2:

  • Armijo Recreation Center and Pool; 710 E 7th Ave, El Paso, TX
  • Nations Tobin Park; 8831 Railroad Dr., El Paso, TX
  • Esperanza Acosta Moreno Library; 12480 Pebble Hills Blvd, El Paso, TX
  • Memorial Swimming Pool; 3251 Copper Ave., El Paso, TX

Testing in the rural communities is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the following dates and locations:

May 26:

  • El Paso County ESD #2 Fire Station; 11440 N. Loop, Socorro, TX

May 27:

  • El Paso County ESD #2 District Office; 16001 Socorro Road, Fabens, TX

May 28:

  • West Valley Fire Department; 510 Vinton Road, Anthony, TX

May 29:

  • Montana Vista Fire Station #2; 5411 Paso View Drive, El Paso, TX

May 30:

  • Tornillo ISD Administrative Building; 19200 Cobb Ave., Tornillo, TX

June 1:

  • Horizon First Baptist Church; 17018 Darrington Road, Horizon City, TX

June 2:

  • San Elizario Fire Station; 1415 San Antonio Rd., San Elizario, TX

For more information about the various public and private testing locations throughout the community click here or visit, www.EPStrong.org.

***

***(5/22/2020)   On Friday, officials with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Detention Facility reported its first COVID-19 case.

On May 6, 2020, a 36 year old male was booked into the downtown jail for Parole Violation, Failure to Identify and Evading Arrest or Detention.

As per procedure, the inmate was under a 14-day quarantine while in the jail and near the end of that quarantine period developed a fever. He was then administered a COVID test and it came back positive. The inmate is currently in isolation and under medical care while he recovers.

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 and within our inmate population. This would include providing personal protective equipment to our personnel and the inmates. 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.

***

***(5/22/2020) The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) is reporting one (1) COVID-19 death, and another spike in positive cases.

The 58th death is a male in his 60s with underlying health conditions.

For the second day in a row, El Paso is reporting another large spike in positive COVID-19 cases with 114 new cases, bringing the county’s cumulative total to 2,160 cases.

For a comprehensive list of COVID-19 data please visit the COVID-19 Data page found at www.EPStrong.org. The data will also posted later today on all of our social media platforms (FacebookInstagramTwitter).

“Our hearts go out to this gentleman who lost his battle against this devastating virus, and to his family we send our sincerest condolences,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, City/County Health Authority. “While we are concerned about this week’s spike in cases we are also not surprised in part because we are increasing our testing, which is a great measure for identifying and isolating these cases. However, as I’ve said this spike also clearly shows that many people did not heed our warnings during Mother’s Day weekend. We must each acknowledge that we are responsible for our own actions, which affects our friends and family. Why risk yours or their lives?”

The virus that causes COVID-19 is still circulating in our community. Community members should continue to observe practices that protect everyone, especially those who are the most vulnerable (person 65 or older and/or with pre-existing health conditions).

Health officials strongly advise to continue practicing social distancing, wear a face covering, stay home if you’re sick, and wash your hands with soap and water. 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.

Health questions about COVID-19 can be made by calling the 21-COVID hotline, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For referrals to services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6). For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(5/21/2020)

During a Thursday evening press briefing, city and county leaders expressed fear that this Memorial Day weekend could trigger yet another spike in COVID-19 cases.

They also released new guidelines on the businesses that may open starting next week; similar to the orders Governor Greg Abbott announced last week. (View the complete guidelines and news conference below – video courtesy City of El Paso/Facebook)

During the virtual news conference, Mayor Dee Margo expressed concern about the possible uptick in cases, saying “most of our spikes have occurred from family gatherings.”

As for the continued reopenings, Margo again struck a balanced tone.

“The amended local directive incorporates the opening of additional businesses and services on May 29…We will continue re-opening our economy in a judicious and proactive manner, while balancing public health and our economy.”

Additionally, County Judge Ricardo Sameniego said he was ordering the closure of Ascarate Park during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, from Saturday through Monday. He added that Ascarate golf course would remain open, however only for golfers who reserved tee times.

~~~ City and County officials have amended the Local Emergency Directive in response to Governor Abbott’s Executive Order issued on Monday, May 18, 2020 calling to begin Phase II to re-open the Texas economy.

The public is reminded that City facilities will remain closed and therefore restricted until further notice. City parks and recreational areas and facilities, including tennis courts, basketball courts, swimming pools, water parks, splash pads, the zoo, public museums and public libraries will remain closed due to health and budgetary impacts.

The Franklin Mountains State Park will open for day visits beginning Friday, May 22. Only 300 people will be allowed each day. No groups larger than five (except those in the same family or household). Face coverings are strongly encouraged while in the park.

People may also visit Hueco Tanks State Park following minimum health guidelines. McKelligon Canyon will open Friday, May 22; however, the gate will remain closed to vehicle traffic. Only foot and bicycle traffic will be allowed on paved road; hiking on trails is not permitted.

Texas State Parks Reservation System is available online  or by calling the Customer Service Center 512-389-8900.

The Parks and Recreation Department will reopen certain hiking and walking trails across the City for Memorial Day weekend starting Saturday, May 23. Some trails include Lost Dog Trailhead, Round House Trailhead, Lazy Cow Trailhead, Thousand Steps Trailhead, Palisades Trailhead, Lomas del Sol Trailhead, Jan Sumrall Memorial Trailhead and Scenic Drive’s Scenic Sundays will resume on Sunday, May 24.

Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 29, 2020, the following will be able to operate with some conditions and minimum standard health protocols:

  • Office-based services may operate at up to the greater of 10 individuals or 25 percent of the total office workforce and must maintain appropriate social distancing of six-feet.
  • Dine-In restaurant services occupancy limitation increases to 50 percent of the total listed occupancy inside the restaurant.
  • Massage establishments and or other facilities where licensed massage therapists or other persons licensed may operate and must ensure at least six feet of social distancing between operating work stations.
  • Personal-care and beauty services that have not already been opened, such as tattoo studios, piercing studios, hair removal services and hair loss treatment and growth services may operate and must ensure at least six feet of social distancing between operating work stations.
  • Childcare services must implement more specific social distance strategies.
  • Bars and similar establishments that are not restaurants may operate at up to 25 percent of the total listed occupancy of the establishment.
  • Bowling alleys, bingo halls, simulcast racing and skating rinks may operate at up to 25 percent of the total listed occupancy of the establishment. Bowling alleys must ensure at least six feet of social distancing between operating lanes.
  • Rodeos and equestrian events may operate at up to 25 percent of the total listed occupancy.
  • Amateur sporting events may operate ensuring there is no access to the general public and all participants have tested negative from COVID-19 prior to the event, quarantined for the duration of the event, are temperature checked and monitored for symptoms daily and tested again for COVID-19 at the end of the event.

Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, May 31, 2020:

  • Professional basketball, baseball, softball, golf, tennis, football, and car racing events, with no spectators physically present on the premises of the venue may operate.
  • Youth camps, including all summer camps and other daytime and overnight camps for youth.
  • Youth sports may begin practices, but games and similar competitions may not begin until June 15, 2020.

However, the public is once again reminded that City of El Paso facilities, to include City parks and recreational areas and facilities, will remain closed and therefore restricted until further notice.

The updated Local Directive once completed and executed will be made available online under “Health Orders.”

The public is reminded that even infected persons with little to no symptoms can spread the virus to others and ​the people they spread it to may become seriously ill or even die, especially if that person is 65 or older with pre-existing health conditions.

Health questions about COVID-19 can be made by calling the 21-COVID hotline, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For referrals to services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6). For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

COVID-19 Virtual Press Conference – Update on COVID-19 Activities and Local Emergency Directive

COVID-19 Virtual Press Conference – Update on COVID-19 Activities and Local Emergency DirectiveIf you have a question please send us a private message. Comments will be answered after the press conference ends. #IAmElPaso

Posted by City of El Paso, Texas – Municipal Government on Thursday, May 21, 2020

***

***(5/21/2020) YISD offers COVID-19 drive-through testing at three sites 

In conjunction with efforts by city and county health officials to increase the availability of COVID-19 testing, the Ysleta Independent School District will begin offering free COVID-19 drive-through testing to the public – by appointment only – at the following three sites beginning Tuesday, May 26:

YISD Central Office, 9600 Sims Drive
Ysleta Pre-K Center, 7940 Craddock
North Star Elementary School, 5950 Sean Haggerty Drive

The testing will be offered at these three sites from 8 a.m. to noon Monday-Friday from May 26-June 5, with the district providing security and nursing staff to conduct and oversee testing.

Any member of the public can request an appointment for COVID-19 testing at the Ysleta ISD sites by calling the district’s hotline at 915-434-1092 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays, beginning Friday, May 22.

The appointment hotline will be closed this Monday, May 25, for the Memorial Day holiday, but will return to normal operating schedule at 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 26.

Drop-ins will not be accommodated in drive-through testing; appointments are required at all three Ysleta ISD sites. Testing is open to everyone, even those who are currently asymptomatic, if they have reason to believe they’ve been exposed to COVID-19. The testing is free of charge; doctor referrals are not needed.

For health questions about COVID-19, please call the city’s 21-COVID hotline from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For referrals to services, dial 2-1-1 and select option six (6).

***

***(5/21/2020) Additional COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites will be opening tomorrow, Friday, May 22 at three (3) CVS Pharmacy locations.

CVS Health will begin offering self-swab tests to individuals meeting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria, including first responders, healthcare providers and others with symptoms of COVID-19 and those in high-risk groups (persons over 65 years of age and those with underlying medical conditions) without symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, chills, cough, fatigue, body aches, muscle or joint pain, shortness of breath, sore throat, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, nasal congestion, and loss of taste and/or smell.

Individuals must register in advance at CVS.com to schedule an appointment.

The locations are:

  • 8041 N. Mesa Street, Suite A
  • 1780 N Lee Trevino Drive
  • 12051 Tierra Este Road

Testing will take place through the pharmacy drive-thru window; no testing will take place in-store. Testing results are expected to take approximately three days and will be posted on CVS’s Minute Clinic portal.

The days and hours of operation will vary per store and residents are asked to visit online to schedule an appointment. Employees participating in the test collection process will maintain their safety using personal protective equipment and follow sanitization protocols after each test.

CVS officials report that the pharmacy will accept insurance at the drive-thru test sites; and uninsured patients will be covered under a program funded by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

For downloadable COVID-19 testing media assets, including photos, video and interviews with CVS Health executives, please visit the Media Resource Center.

For more information about the various public and private testing locations throughout the community click here or visit, www.EPStrong.org.

***

***(5/21/2020)

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) is reporting three (3) additional COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 57.

The patients, all with underlying health conditions, include:

  • a female in her 40s
  • a male in his 60s
  • a male in his 80s

El Paso is also reporting its second largest spike in positive COVID-19 cases with 116 new cases. The largest spike was reported on May 14 with 151 new cases.

The county’s cumulative total now stands at 2,046 cases.

“I wish to express my deepest sorrow to the families of these three community members. We continue to be saddened by the ongoing loss of life,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza. “This weeks deaths and today’s spike in positive cases have an apparent connection to Mother’s Day weekend, which is why we are sincerely concerned about what Memorial Day weekend might bring about if the community continues to disregard the advice we share nearly every day.”

The public is once again reminded that even infected persons with little to no symptoms can spread the virus to others and the people they spread it to may become seriously ill or even die, especially if that person is 65 or older with pre-existing health conditions.

Health questions about COVID-19 can be made by calling the 21-COVID hotline, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For referrals to services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6). For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

 

***

***(5/20/2020)

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) is reporting two (2) additional COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 54.

The patients with underlying health conditions include two males in their 70s. El Paso is also reporting 78 new COVID-19 cases bringing the county’s total number to 1,930.

Health officials report that there is a strong correlation between the Mother’s Day weekend and the spike in positive cases. To-date 1,028 people have recovered from COVID-19; meaning there are 848 active cases within the county.

“It is disappointing that we are again reporting the loss of two more members of our community,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza. “These men are not just a number for us; they are someone’s friend, neighbor, a parent, a loved one. It is for this reason that we need everyone to help us slow the spread of this virus by continuing to do what I have been urging for weeks. Again, I ask that you practice social distancing, wear a face cover, wash your hands with soap and water and if you’re sick stay home.”

The public is reminded that even infected persons with little to no symptoms can spread the virus to others and ​the people they spread it to may become seriously ill or even die, especially if that person is 65 or older with pre-existing health conditions.

Members of the community who are interested in getting tested are able to learn more about the available testing throughout the county by clicking here.

Beginning tomorrow, May 21, the majority of the COVID-19 data be directly upload to the City’s website by 8 a.m. which can be accessed by clicking here on the COVID-19 Data page or by visiting www.EPStrong.org.

Some of the data, such as total testing data and the zip code map will be provided online later the same day.

Health questions about COVID-19 can be made by calling the 21-COVID hotline, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For referrals to services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6).

For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(5/19/2020) 

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) is reporting five (5) additional COVID-19 death for a total number of 52.

All except one of the patients had underlying health conditions. They include:

  • a female in her 60s, with no underlying conditions
  • a female in her 90s
  • a male in his 50s
  • a male in his 60s
  • a male in his 70s

El Paso is also reporting 52 new COVID-19 cases bringing the county’s total number to 1,852.

To-date 984 people have recovered from COVID-19; meaning there are 816 active cases within the county. See accompanying graphics and map for additional data points.

“We are grief-stricken to learn of the passing of five more community members, and our hearts go out to their loved ones,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza. “I wish to once again remind everyone that we must make a concerted effort to take care of our most vulnerable population, particularly our loved ones who are 65 or older and those with pre-existing health conditions. If you do not live in the same household with your parents, grandparents and other members of your extended family, we ask that you please care for them by bring them all their necessities so they do not have to go out and expose themselves. You should also limit your interaction and teach them how to use digital devices and apps so you can remain close but virtually connected.”

Health questions about COVID-19 can be made by calling the 21-COVID hotline, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For referrals to services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6). For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(5/19/2020) 

The El Paso Department of Health and Office of Emergency Management has partnered with Urgent Care for Kids to increase COVID-19 testing.

Additionally, the COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites at the three (3) Walmart parking lots will be extended an extra hour.

Urgent Care for Kids Partnership

Beginning Wednesday, May 20, Virtual Care for Families, the largest Texas based telemedicine provider, along with their Urgent Care services, Urgent Care for Kids, will provide COVID-19 testing to the community, at Leo Cancellare Pool, at 650 Wallenburg Dr.

Testing will be free for all children and adults without health insurance, courtesy of the CARES Act.

All COVID-19 testing is available Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments are available at www.urgentcarekids.com/testsite. The test site will be closed on May 25 in observance of Memorial Day.

Walmart Testing Expands Hours

The COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites at the three (3) Walmart parking lots will be expanded an extra hour. The testing will be from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The locations are:

  • 4530 Woodrow Bean, El Paso, TX 79924
  • 1850 N Zaragoza Rd., El Paso, TX 79936
  • 7555 N Mesa St., El Paso, TX 79912

The sites are supported by Walmart, eTrueNorth and state and local officials to test anyone who meets Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state and local guidelines on who should be tested, including first responders, healthcare providers and others with symptoms of COVID-19 and those in high risk groups without symptoms.

Those interested in being tested need to visit www.DoINeedaCOVID19test.com to determine if they are eligible for testing and to make an appointment.

For more information about the various testing locations throughout the county click here.

Health questions about COVID-19 can be made by calling the 21-COVID hotline, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For referrals to services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6). For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(5/19/2020) 

The El Paso Independent School District in partnership with Virtual Care for Kids will begin administering COVID-19 testing at its Burnet health site starting on Friday, the Board of Trustees voted on Tuesday.

Trustees approved a resolution that allows EPISD nurses to administer COVID-19 testing to students, employees and community members who have been referred by a doctor in the Virtual Care for Kids network.

“This is another step in making sure that we tend to the healthcare needs of our students and staff, as well as their families,” said Alana Bejarano, EPISD’s director of health services. “Our school nurses continue to step up to the challenge of helping our students remain healthy so that they can learn effectively and reach their academic goals.”

Testing at the Burnet site, 3700 Thomason, will be free after a referral from a visit to a Virtual Care for Kids healthcare provider. Some insurance charges may be incurred. To access the Virtual Care for Kids portal, click here.

Virtual Care for Kids, through its partnership with EPISD, provides videoconferencing visits with a pediatrician or healthcare provider from the comfort of home. The healthcare provider can diagnose an illness and prescribe treatment and medicine.

***

***(5/18/2020)  The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) is  reporting 28 new COVID-19 cases bringing the county’s total number to 1,800, the number of deaths remains at 47.

To-date 921 people have recovered from COVID-19; meaning there are 832 active cases within the county. See accompanying graphics and map for additional data points.

It is estimated that as of today more than 20,200 tests have been performed, this is a 98 percent increase from May 5, at which time approximately 10,200 tests had been performed.

Today, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced his plans to enter phase two to Open Texas. At the request of El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, and Texas Reps. Joe Moody and César Blanco, El Paso and four other Texas counties will be able to delay openings by one week for some businesses that re-opened throughout Texas today and those businesses scheduled to open this Friday, May 22.

“Gov. Abbott has always had great affection for El Paso and especially after the August 3 tragedy,” Margo said. “We are pleased he agreed with us for a delay of one week and we appreciate his leadership.”

Gyms, some manufacturers, and office-based employers may proceed to open today pursuant to the Governor’s Minimum Standard Health Protocols. Additional businesses which include childcare facilities, personal care services that had not previously re-opened, opening restaurants at 50 percent, and various other services at 25 percent of total listed capacity, such as bars, bowling alleys, bingo halls, skating rinks, rodeos, and amateur sporting events without spectators are anticipated to re-open locally, beginning on Friday, May 29. Additional services are set to reopen on Sunday, May 31, per Gov. Abbott’s orders.

City officials will evaluate Gov. Abbott’s latest orders and will issue a more detailed directive for El Paso later this week with an emphasis on the health and wellness of our community.

“It is critically important that we all do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Governor has begun the reopening of Texas, and 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. “While we understand the desire to return back to normal, we must acknowledge that there is a new normal and we must be cautious of our most vulnerable populations. We must continue to practice social distancing, we urge people to wear face coverings, and wash your hands with soap and water. The public must remember that 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.”

Last week Gov. Abbott ordered local communities to tests all licensed nursing home residents and staff, with the support from local fire departments. Prior to the state’s orders, testing of nursing homes had already begun by DPH and the Border Regional Advisory Council (BorderRAC).

The DPH and BorderRAC in collaboration with the El Paso Fire Department is administering tests to more than 20 licensed nursing facilities within El Paso.

Members of the community who are interested in getting tested are able to learn more about the available testing throughout the county by clicking here.

Health questions about COVID-19 can be made by calling the 21-COVID hotline, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For referrals to services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6). For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

 

***(5/18/2020) Gov. Abbott issues guidelines for immediate opening of child care, massage and personal services, with the Exception of El Paso, other counties. 

Gov. Greg Abbott announcedMonday that certain businesses, including child care services, massage establishments, and personal services – tattoo, piercing, hair removal –  may immediately resume operations statewide.

However, El Paso remains under a stricter order, because El Paso and several other counties in the Panhandle remain a “hot spots” for spread of COVID-19.

Executive Order GA-23 is effective immediately and will continue through June 3, 2020. Guidance and protocols for businesses to open can be found via this link.

Open in El Paso

Retail services through pick-up, delivery by mail, or door delivery
Local government operations
In-store retail, movie theaters, shopping malls, dine-in restaurants, museums, and libraries can open at 25 percent capacity. 25% does not include employees).
Wedding venues are open, with occupancy limited to 25 percent at indoor locations other than a church, congregation, or house of worship. Indoor receptions are limited to 25 percent occupancy as well. 25 percent does not include employees.
Cosmetology salons, hair salons, barber shops, nail salons and shops, and other establishments where licensed cosmetologists or barbers work, as well as tanning salons are open. Establishments must ensure at least six feet between work stations.
Swimming pools (indoor and outdoor) may open subject to certain limitations, including 25 percent occupancy or operating levels.
Golf course operations
Services provided in an office may operate with the greater of 25 percent of the total office workforce or 10 individuals.
Non-CISA manufacturing services may operate at 25% occupancy.
Gyms and exercise facilities and classes may operate at 25 percent occupancy, however locker rooms and showers are to remain closed. Restrooms may be open for use.

Information from the Governor’s office for the rest of the state

Starting Immediately except for Deaf Smith, El Paso, Moore, Potter and Randall Counties:

∙ Massage establishments and others licensed under Chapter 455 of the Texas Occupations Code may operate but must maintain at least six feet of social distancing.
∙ Personal-care and beauty services not already open may operate but must maintain at least six feet of social distancing between work stations.

These include:

  • Tattoo studios, piercing studios, hair removal services and hair loss treatment and growth services
  • Child-care services other than youth camps

Starting Friday May 22, 2020, except for Deaf Smith, El Paso, Moore, Potter and Randall Counties:

∙ Dine-in restaurants at 50% occupancy (50% does not include outdoor seating, where 6 feet of separation must be maintained, or employees)
∙ Bars and similar establishments, such as wineries and breweries, may operate at 25% capacity
∙ Aquariums, natural caverns and similar facilities may operate at 25% occupancy
∙ Bowling alleys, bingo halls, simulcast racing to the extent allowed by law, and skating rinks may operate at 25% capacity
∙ Rodeos and equestrian at 25% occupancy (this does not allow for county fairs or large social gatherings)
∙ Drive-in concerts provided that participants remain in their own vehicles
∙ Amateur sporting events which provide no access to the general public and all participants have tested negative for COVID-19 prior to the event

Starting Friday, May 29, 2020 for Deaf Smith, El Paso, Moore, Potter, and Randall Counties:

∙ Massage establishments and others licensed under Chapter 455 of the Texas Occupations Code may operate but must maintain at least six feet of social distancing.
∙ Personal-care and beauty services not already open may operate but must maintain at least six feet of social distancing between work stations. These include:
o Tattoo studios, piercing studios, hair removal services and hair loss treatment and growth services
∙ Child-care services other than youth camps
∙ Dine-in restaurants at 50% occupancy (50% does not include outdoor seating, where 6 feet of separation must be maintained, or employees)
∙ Bars and similar establishments, such as wineries and breweries, may operate at 25% capacity
∙ Aquariums, natural caverns and similar facilities may operate at 25% occupancy
∙ Bowling alleys, bingo halls, simulcast racing to the extent allowed by law, and skating rinks may operate at 25% capacity
∙ Rodeos and equestrian events at 25% capacity (this does not allow for county fairs or large social gatherings)
∙ Drive-in concerts provided that participants remain in their own vehicles
∙ Amateur sporting events which provide no access to the general public and all participants have tested negative for COVID-19 prior to the event

Starting Friday, May 29, 2020 for all Texas Counties:

∙ Outdoor areas of zoos may operate up to 25% capacity. All indoor areas of the zoo, except for restrooms, are to remain closed.

Starting Sunday, May 31, 2020 for all Texas Counties:

∙ Certain professional sporting events with no spectators physical present on the premises and as approved by DSHS
∙ Youth camps and summer camps, including both daytime and overnight
∙ Youth sports programs may begin practices but games and competitions may not begin until June 15, 2020.

Counties with five or fewer active case counts can file proper attestation forms with DSHS to allow for occupancy limits to be 50% instead of the listed 25%.

Texans are asked to avoid interactive amusement venues (including amusement parks and water parks) at this time. Texans are also still asked to not visit nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities at this time.

Information about Schools and Education:

∙ All public schools should follow guidance as set forth by TEA and found on the TEA website
∙ Schools may conduct graduation ceremonies as set forth by TEA and found on the TEA website

Starting June 1, 2020 Public School Districts may:

∙ Allow students to access the campus for in person classroom instruction such as summer school, special education, specialized assessments and tutoring services.
∙ Public education teachers are encouraged to continue to work remotely from home if possible

Private schools and institutions of higher education may reopen campuses and are encouraged to establish similar standards to allow students, teachers, and staff to return to campus for limited purpose.

***(5/17/2020)

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) is reporting one (1) additional COVID-19 death for a total number of 47.

The death is a female patient in her 70s with underlying health conditions.

El Paso is also reporting 46 new COVID-19 cases bringing the county’s total number to 1,772. To-date 903 people have recovered from COVID-19; meaning there are 822 active cases within the county.

See accompanying graphics and map for additional data points.

The public is reminded to continue practicing healthy habits that will protect them, their loved ones and others from getting sick. Below are a few tips that everyone should do to stay healthy and be teaching children to do the same:

  • Clean hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Avoid people who are sick (coughing and sneezing).
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (like tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, and sinks).
  • Launder items including washable plush toys as needed. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.

Know how it spreads:

  • There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.
  • At this time, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:

o   Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet);

o   Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks;

o   These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs; and

o   Be aware that some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

***

***(5/17/2020) State Amends Mobile Testing Dates and Locations

The Texas Department of Emergency Management, TMD-MTT, has amended its testing dates and locations for this week.

Testing is free and available to members of the community with or without COVID-19 symptoms. The sites are drive-thru and by appointment only.

Citizens are asked to make an appointment 24 hours prior to the testing date either online at WWW.TXCOVIDTEST.ORG or by calling 512-883-2400.

Testing is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the following dates and locations:

May 17 and May 23:

  • Esperanza Acosta Moreno Library; 12480 Pebble Hills Blvd, El Paso, TX
  • Memorial Swimming Pool; 3251 Copper Ave., El Paso, TX
  • Armijo Recreation Center and Pool; 710 E 7th Ave, El Paso, TX
  • Nations Tobin Park; 8831 Railroad Dr., El Paso, TX

May 18, 20 and 22:

  • Esperanza Acosta Moreno Library; 12480 Pebble Hills Blvd, El Paso, TX
  • Memorial Swimming Pool; 3251 Copper Ave., El Paso, TX

May 19 and 21:

  • Armijo Recreation Center and Pool; 710 E 7th Ave, El Paso, TX
  • Nations Tobin Park; 8831 Railroad Dr., El Paso, TX

Although not required for testing, signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, chills, cough, fatigue, body aches, muscle or joint pain, shortness of breath, sore throat, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, nasal congestion, and loss of taste and/or smell.

The public is reminded that even infected persons with little to no symptoms can spread the virus to others. Even if an infected person is only mildly ill, the people they spread it to may become seriously ill or even die, especially if that person is 65 or older with pre-existing health conditions.

***

***(5/16/2020)

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) is reporting one (1) additional COVID-19 deaths for a total number of 46. The male patient was in his 40s with underlying health conditions.

El Paso is also reporting 71 new COVID-19 cases bringing the county’s total number to 1,726. To-date 882 people have recovered from COVID-19; meaning there are 798 active cases within the county. See accompanying graphics and map for additional data points.

Not counted in El Paso’s cases are 44 positive cases of individuals from other communities outside of the county, who have been tested and/or treated in El Paso. Of those numbers 25 are residents of Chihuahua, Mexico; 17 are New Mexico residents; and two (2) are Texas residents who are not El Paso County residents. Of the 44 cases, two males from Chihuahua (one in his 50s and another in his 80s) passed away.

During the DPH epidemiological investigation, patients and/or legal guardians are interviewed for contact tracing and to gather other pertinent information. Among the information, the patient’s primary place of residence is collected regardless of their citizenship. If it is determined that the patient is not an El Paso county resident, the DPH at that point works with appropriate heath authorities from each residents’ home community in order to ensure the continuation of the investigation, correct counts and appropriate processes/policies are followed.

Please see accompanying graphic for a detailed breakdown.

The City has also seen a 30 percent decline in El Paso Fire Department Emergency Medical Services (EMS) general medical transport calls from the El Paso International Bridges when compared to the previous year. This year Fire reported transporting 163 of individuals from El Paso International Bridges from March 13 through May 13, compared to 229 during the same timeframe in 2019. The 2020 transports totals are general medical transports, not necessarily related to COVID-19.

**

Mayor Margo contributes to Fund for First Responders

Just last week, the Paso del Norte Community Foundation established the EP COVID-19 Medical Equipment and Supply Fund last week to support the production and acquisition of needed protective equipment for front line workers.

Mayor Dee Margo was among the first to contribute personally to the new fund with a significant gift for PPE for the City of El Paso Police Department.

“Ensuring the safety of our community is the top priority of our police department at all times, and especially during this time,” says City of El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen. “We are grateful to Mayor Margo, for stepping up with this generous personal gift to ensure the health and safety of our police force as they work to serve our community.”

“I am blessed to be in the position to give back to our City that has given me so much,” said Mayor Dee Margo. “This personal donation of facial masks to the El Paso Police Department, through the PDN Foundation COVID-19 Medical Equipment and Supply Fund, will ensure their safety and wellness while responding to our public safety needs during our fight against COVID-19. We are a generous community driven by strength and unity.”

The EP COVID-19 Medical Equipment and Supply Fund has raised nearly $15,000 for protective equipment including an $8,400 gift from the Mayor, for the purchase of PPE for the El Paso Police Department from MFI International.

The balance of funds have been raised to support the production of face masks and face shields by a team of local 3D printers including the non-profit Fab Lab of El Paso. These local makers are using available 3D printing capabilities to fashion masks and shields for front line health care workers including physicians, nurses and staff at Centro de Salud Clinica La Fe.

Protective equipment – whether made locally or sourced by other providers – is an on-going need in our community.

For more information on how you can help, visit pdnfoundation.org.

Photo courtesy City of El Paso

Border manufacturers increase focus on medical devices during pandemic

Border manufacturers are teaming up in an unusual race to provide life-saving medical supplies and devices during the COVID-19 crisis. The timing couldn’t be more critical.

“Our message is simple,” said Cecilia Levine, founder of the non-profit US Mexico Canada Strategic Alliance, “We are one North American region. We are part of the solution to a problem that has turned our world upside down.”

The framework to collaborate is already in place. The El Paso-Ciudad Juárez region is home to 32 companies making medical devices, 50 suppliers and a workforce of about 40,000 people.

“We had no idea that the efforts that we’d be engaging in would be so critical to the crisis we’re experiencing right now,” said Emma Schwartz, president of the Medical Center of the America Foundation.

The nonprofit organization based in El Paso fosters collaboration and innovation among the thriving cluster of medical manufacturers and suppliers on both sides of the border.  And the binational effort has become a bright spot during the pandemic.

Adding to the urgency, some of those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and died worked in maquiladoras, according to multiple media reports.

The MCA Foundation also has a start-up incubator to spur innovation that is now key in the cross border effort to respond to COVID-19.  “We found innovators from all over the region and really all over the country and Mexico coming together, seeing how they could support each other to produce new innovations during the crisis,” Schwartz said.

Developing affordable ventilators

Innovations include manufacturing personal protective equipment and ventilators desperately needed by hospitals in both the U.S. and Mexico. Levine said several teams of manufacturers along the border are collaborating to build a new ventilator.

“We’re working with a group in Ciudad Juárez, Monterrey, Sonora and Tijuana,” she said. “We all formed a group with the advice of some researchers from MIT, some researchers from India to try to create a ventilator that can also be very affordable and easy to put together.”

On the border, companies collaborating to build the new ventilator include Flutec, an international HVAC design and build company,  and Mechatronics, which specializes in “medical equipment assembly, design and testing” through robotics and artificial intelligence according to the companies’ websites. Both have operations in El Paso and Ciudad Juárez.

Expertise is being shared across borders and continents. In India, tech executive and innovator Raghu Gullapalli, and Dr.Vineet Joshi, a top hospital lung specialist, are providing technical expertise based on their research. The team has expanded to include a group of innovators and researchers from Peru headed by business executives and start-up supporter Martin Ferraro.

The ventilator is in the testing phase now. The next step is to get it certified by the Mexican government agency COFEPRIS, which announced guidelines to fast-track approval of new ventilators during the pandemic.

The hope is to supply the affordable ventilators to hospitals in Mexico and the United States “in a couple of weeks,” according to Levine.

Mexico announced Monday that it has confirmed more than 5,000 positive COVID-19 cases and 332 deaths, with at least 14 deaths in Ciudad Juárez. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador recently asked President Trump for as many as 10,000 ventilators from the United States.

The United States has more than 585,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 24,000 dead.

It’s not clear when Mexico, which is already scrambling to get facemasks and other medical devices from China, will receive ventilators from the United States.

Border is medical manufacturing hub

The El Paso-Ciudad Juárez binational region of more than 2.4 million people is key in manufacturing essential medical supplies and devices in the fight against the pandemic that’s ravaged the world.

MFI International in Ciudad Juárez has shifted operations from making bedding and home furnishings to medical supplies, including protective hospital bed mattress covers and body bags needed in some COVID-19 hotspots. (Photo courtesy of Lance Levine)

About half of the assembly plants or maquiladoras in Ciudad Juárez employing an estimated 250,000 people have been forced to shut down to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and risk infecting employees.

Medical manufacturers see a critical need to continue operating . But other companies are also contributing their skills and expertise during the pandemic.  Some companies are repurposing assembly lines and materials, including auto parts, during the pandemic.

“The good thing is that in Ciudad Juárez and many parts of Mexico we have a lot of incredible engineers and designers that are now with this coronavirus being showcased with coming up with excellent ideas,”  Levine said.

“People are looking at converting automotive operations into medical devices,” Schwartz added. “For example, there are a lot of covers that are made for the seats inside automobiles. Those operations could be converted to making isolation gowns, for example.”

Levine’s company has also shifted production. She’s director of MFI International, which has operations in El Paso and Ciudad Juárez. The company usually makes bedding and other home furnishing but is now mass-producing washable face masks for essential workers, protective hospital bed mattress covers, and another product in demand in COVID-19 hotspots

“Unfortunately, we’re also making body bags,” she said.

It’s a grim reminder of the pandemic’s rising death toll and the vital mission of border manufacturers working to make life-saving equipment and protective gear.

Author: Angela Kocherga – El Paso Matters

This article first appeared on El Paso Matters and is republished here under a Creative Commons license

El Paso Leaders issue Joint Statement urging cooperation; encouraging El Paso-Juárez region to prepare to minimize impact of Coronavirus

On Thursday, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Congressman Will Hurd (TX-23), Mayor Dee Margo, County Judge Ricardo A. Samaniego, and Borderplex Chief Executive Officer Jon Barela, released the following joint statement urging U.S. and Mexican authorities to cooperate to contain spread of coronavirus, and El Paso-Juárez region to make contingency plans to minimize impact:

“Following the temporary restriction of non-essential travel across the U.S.-Canada border due to the coronavirus pandemic, we are urging the El Paso-Juarez region to prepare contingency plans in anticipation that similar measures may be implemented on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. and Mexican authorities need to cooperate closely to contain the spread of COVID-19 and to do so in a transparent, responsible way. Cooperation should include steps to keep supply chains open and safe, facilitate essential travel between both countries, and administer aid to refugees and other migrants, such as those individuals held in detention facilities in the United States and awaiting court dates in Mexico.

“This pandemic is a rapidly evolving global challenge, and the response to this pandemic demands bold, courageous action on both sides of the border. As a resilient binational community, we should all be alert, make contingency plans, and work to minimize the health, economic, and social impacts of COVID-19 in our region. Let’s rise to the challenge.”

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