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Coronavirus in El Paso: Latest updates

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Update 10:10 a.m. June 2 - El Paso area unemployment claims decrease again, but many still out of work as county carefully reopens

Workforce Solutions Borderplex reported Monday that nearly 2,436 people filed unemployment claims from May 24 to May 28. That compares to 3,914 claims the previous week.

Even as the flood of layoffs continues to slow in the borderland, the number of El Pasoans who are out of work remains at a historic high. The El Paso County unemployment rate was 14.8% in April, according to Workforce Solutions Borderplex’s latest labor market review. In February, the unemployment rate was 3.8%.

Charted: Jobless claims in El Paso slow from historic peak

The weekly unemployment claims count fluctuates as “the system processes an unprecedented volume of claims,” according to Workforce Solutions Borderplex. The report is published Monday nights and covers six counties: Brewster, Culbertson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis and Presidio.

Workforce Solutions Borderplex has about 4,400 available jobs listed at WorkinTexas.com.


Update 11 a.m. June 1  - Blood donors needed; donors can now learn their COVID-19 antibody status

Vitalant says it is now testing all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies. Antibody testing can reveal who has previously had COVID-19. 

The nonprofit says there is an urgent need for donors and hopes to spur more to give blood by offering the test for free to those who donate.

The antibody test — authorized by the Food and Drug Administration — indicates if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to the virus, regardless of whether they ever showed symptoms, according to Vitalant.

“While a positive antibody test does not mean that someone is immune to COVID-19, it does mean that they may be eligible to donate convalescent plasma in the future and help people with the disease,” said Cliff Numark, Vitalant’s chief of marketing, in a statement.

Donors are urged to give blood as soon as possible. Appointments can be made online at vitalant.org or by calling 877-258-4825.


Update 12:30 p.m. May 29 - Bars, more businesses to open; coronavirus deaths continue to climb

As the state and local emergency directives allow for more businesses to open, the county is reporting more coronavirus deaths.

City officials on Friday morning reported five more people have died of COVID-19 in the county, bringing the total to 77. Officials also reported 54 new cases for a total of 2,623 to date, with 1,508 recoveries.

On Thursday, city and county officials amended the local emergency directive to align with the state's proclamations allowing more businesses to reopen.

That allows for bars to open at 25% capacity but also prohibits parties larger than six people per table and the bar area itself must remain closed off to patrons. Bars must also use disposable menus, silverware and glasses. The order also prohibits bars from opening dance floors or other areas that promote close interaction.

It also allows for food courts in shopping malls to open, as well as driver education programs at 25% operation starting Friday May 29. Also allowed to open today at 25% capacity are waterparks and outdoor motorsport events.

Starting Sunday, recreational sports programs for adults can begin hosting practices, with all games and competitions allowed to begin June 15.

City facilities, including parks and recreation facilities and areas will remain closed until further notice due to health and budgetary considerations, officials said. 


Update 9:10 a.m. May 27 - Eight more people die of COVID-19 in El Paso County; 'a devastating day'

The El Paso Department of Public Health reported Wednesday that eight more people have died of COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths in El Paso County to 68.

It is the largest single-day number of deaths reported in El Paso.

“It is a devastating day for our community," Dr. Hector Ocaranza, the city/county health authority, said in a news release. "I’m at a loss for words to explain the depth of our sorrow.” 

Those who died are:

  • Two women in their 80s

  • a woman in her 90s

  • a man in his 40s

  • a man in his 50s

  • a man in his 60s

  • a man in his 70s

  • and a man in his 80s

Charted: COVID-19 patients hospitalized and in the ICU by day in El Paso County

Health officials say that the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, is still active in the community and they "strongly advise" El Pasoans to continue to practice social distancing, wear face coverings and stay home if they are sick.

“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," Ocaranza said. "We ask the community not to risk their lives. We urge everyone to please do your part to keep your loved ones safe.”

The city of El Paso is now posting the latest COVID-19 data online at EPStrong.org/Results.php. The data is uploaded by 8 a.m. every day.


Jobless claims remain at historic highs but continue to slow

The flood of layoffs is slowing in the borderland, with Workforce Solutions Borderplex reporting that nearly 3,275 people filed unemployment claims from May 17 to May 22.

That brings the 10-week tally to almost 65,000 for El Paso County and surrounding areas.

The weekly count of new jobless claims has been declining since late April, but remains at historic highs in a grim economic landscape.

Charted: Jobless claims in El Paso slow from historic peak

The weekly counts fluctuate as “the system processes an unprecedented volume of claims,” according to Workforce Solutions Borderplex. The report is published Monday nights and covers six counties: Brewster, Culbertson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis and Presidio.

Workforce Solutions Borderplex has about 4,400 available jobs listed at WorkinTexas.com, including jobs at Big Lots, CVS, DA Defense Logistics, Daniels Roofing, Datamark, Food City and Plaza Properties.


Update 11:30 a.m. May 26 - El Paso partnership releases resources for businesses

The COVID-19 Enhanced Regional Public Health Partnership and the Better Business Bureau of El Paso have developed online resources to help El Paso business owners as they begin reopening.

The Business Resource Center is online at EPCovid19.org.

“We are pleased that the Better Business Bureau is helping us get the word out to the business community and remind them that they are not alone during this process,"  Emma Schwartz, president of the Medical Center of the Americas Foundation, said in a news release. 

The Business Resource Center is continuously updated with information and health guidance for businesses, including health and safety guidelines, training videos, webinars, downloadable posters, sources of Personal Protective Equipment and information about COVID-19 testing.

“Our businesses are eager to open their doors, but still seek information to help protect themselves, their employees and their customers when they reopen their operations,” said Marybeth Stevens, president of BBB of El Paso. 

El Paso Inc. has compiled a list of resources for local businesses here.


Update 9:20 a.m. May 21 - City reports another spike in COVID-19 cases

The city of El Paso is now posting the latest COVID-19 data online at EPStrong.org/Results.php. The data is uploaded by 8 a.m. every day.

Thursday morning, the Department of Public Health reported that three more people have died of COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths in El Paso County to 57.

A woman in her 40s, a man in his 60s and a man in his 80s have died. They had underlying health conditions, according to the city.

The city also reported 116 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, the second largest spike in positive COVID-19 cases so far. The largest spike was reported on May 14, when there were 151 new cases.


Elephant Butte 'Fireworks Extravaganza' canceled

The popular fireworks show at Elephant Butte Lake State Park has been canceled.

"With the uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the constraints put on every business and individual, our Board of Directors have decided to cancel this years Fireworks Extravaganza for July 4, 2020," The Friends of Elephant Butte Lake State Park posted on Facebook. 

The group is responsible for raising money and organizing the "Fireworks Extravaganza" and other events at the lake.


Update 7:45 p.m. May 20 - City says there is a "strong correlation" between uptick in coronavirus infections and Mother's Day weekend.

The El Paso Department of Public Health on Wednesday, reported two more COVID-19 deaths, 78 new confirmed coronavirus cases and an increase in hospitalizations.

Health officials say there is a "strong correlation" between the uptick and Mother's Day weekend.

The two men who died of COVID-19 were in their 70s and had underlying health conditions, according to the city. The number of COVID-19 patients who are hospitalized hit a new high, with the city reporting 109 hospitalized patients. Fifty-two of those are in the ICU.

Charted: New reported COVID-19 cases by day in El Paso County

Charted: COVID-19 patients hospitalized and in the ICU by day in El Paso County


Update 1:30 p.m. May 20 - City trails, Franklin Mountains State Park reopening for Memorial Day weekend

Lost Dog

A biker on the Lost Dog Trail in Northwest El Paso.

The El Paso Parks and Recreation Department is reopening hiking and walking trails for Memorial Day weekend, starting Saturday, May 23.

City officials say the trails will be open for walking, jogging, cycling and nature viewing, but social distancing guidelines must be followed. Visitors are encouraged to keep six feet apart from others and to wear masks.

The trails and walking paths reopening include: Lost Dog, Round House, Lazy Cow, Thousand Steps, Palisades, Lomas del Sol and Jan Sumrall Memorial.

Scenic Drive will also open and Scenic Sundays resume. McKelligon Canyon opens Friday, May 22, although the gate will remain closed to vehicle traffic, according to the city.

City parks and recreational areas remain closed, as well as aquatic centers, senior centers and sports facilities.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is reopening portions of Franklin Mountains State Park for limited day-use starting Friday, May 22.

Visitors must purchase day passes in advance before visiting the state park. They can be reserve online at www.texasstateparks.org or by calling 512-389-8900.

Annual pass holders must reserve a day pass through the online reservation system, and guests will need to have their permit on hand either digitally or printed when visiting the park.

Portions of the park, including the Ron Coleman Trail and the trails southeast of Transmountain Road, remain closed. Park officials recommend that park visitors wear face coverings and use hand sanitizer. Groups larger than five that are not part of the same household are prohibited.


Update 5:50 p.m. May 19 - City reports five COVID-19 deaths, 107 hospitalized

Five more people have died of COVID-19 in El Paso County as the coronavirus continues to spread through the community, bringing the total to 52 deaths.

The Department of Public Health reported Tuesday that a woman in her 60s with no underlying conditions, as well as a woman in her 90s, a man in his 50s, a man in his 60s and a man in his 70s have died.

The number of people reported hospitalized with COVID-19 also increased from 77 on Monday to 107 on Tuesday, with 46 of those in the intensive care unit.

Dr. Hector Ocaranza

Dr. Hector Ocaranza, the city/county health authority

“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, the city/county health authority. “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.


Update 9:40 a.m. May 19 - Jobless claims remain at historic highs but continue to slow

As retail stores, salons, bars, gyms and restaurants open around Texas, the flood of layoffs is slowing in the borderland, with Workforce Solutions Borderplex reporting that nearly 3,172 people filed unemployment claims from May 10 to May 14.

That brings the two-month tally to almost 57,400 for El Paso County and surrounding areas.

The weekly count of new jobless claims has been declining since late April, but remains at historic highs in a grim economic landscape.

Charted: Jobless claims in El Paso slow from historic peak

The weekly counts fluctuate as “the system processes an unprecedented volume of claims,” according to Workforce Solutions Borderplex. The report is published Monday nights and covers six counties: Brewster, Culbertson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis and Presidio.

Workforce Solutions Borderplex has about 4,400 available jobs listed at WorkinTexas.com, including jobs at CVS, Datamark, Food City, Growing Concern, Mesilla Valley Transportation, Plaza Properties and Sky Transportation.


Update 7:40 p.m. May 18 - COVID-19 testing continues to rapidly expand in El Paso; governor easing statewide restrictions

COVID-19

Patients drive into Esperanza Acosta Moreno Library as COVID-19 testing is expanded across the borderland.

The El Paso Department of Public Health Monday night reported 28 new confirmed COVID-19 cases as testing continues to expand in the borderland.

So far, 47 people have died of the novel coronavirus in El Paso County and, right now, there are 77 people hospitalized, with 35 of those in the intensive care unit.

According to the city, testing has increased 98% since May 5, and a total of more than 20,200 tests have been preformed.

Gov. Greg Abbott has announced his next wave of reopenings. However, since the number of coronavirus cases continues to increase here, Abbott exempted El Paso, along with four other Texas counties that are considered hot spots.

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

According to a city news release, gyms, some manufacturers and office-based employers may open in El Paso.

Set to reopen on May 31 are child care facilities and personal care services that had not previously reopened. Also bars, bowling alleys, bingo halls, skating rinks, rodeos and amateur sporting events at 25% capacity, as well as restaurants at 50% capacity.

The city says it is evaluating Abbott's latest orders and will issue a more detailed directive "later this week."


Update 1:30 p.m. May 17 - Testing sites change; more deaths reported

El Paso COVID-19 testing sites run by the Texas Department of Emergency Management have been changed for this week.

The sites are drive-thru and by appointment only 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can make an appointment at txcovidtext.org or at 512-883-2400.

May 17 and May 23:

Esperanza Acosta Moreno Library, 12480 Pebble Hills

Memorial Swimming Pool, 3251 Copper

Armijo Recreation Center and Pool, 710 E. 7th Ave.

Nations Tobin Park, 8831 Railroad

May 18, 20 and 22

Esperanza Acosta Moreno Library, 12480 Pebble Hills

Memorial Swimming Pool, 3251 Copper

May 19 and 21:

Armijo Recreation Center and Pool, 710 E. 7th Ave.

Nations Tobin Park, 8831 Railroad

Testing is free and available to those with or without COVID-19 symptoms.

Charted: New reported COVID-19 cases by day

On Friday, the city reported two more deaths and 48 new cases; while 71 new cases and one additional death were reported on Saturday.

That brings the COVID-19 death toll in the county to 46, with 1,726 cases.

Charted: COVID-19 patients hospitalized, in ICU

Not counted in El Paso’s tally are 44 positive cases of individuals from communities outside of the county who have been tested and/or treated in El Paso, officials said in a news release.

Of those, 25 are residents of Chihuahua, Mexico; 17 are New Mexico residents; and two are Texas residents. Of the 44 cases, two males from Chihuahua (one in his 50s and another in his 80s) have died.

For referrals to services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6).

For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.


Update 3 p.m. May 15 - YMCA readies to open Monday

The YMCA of El Paso will reopen its branches on Monday, May 18, with a 25% capacity in all areas, reduced hours and other safety precautions.

Officials on Friday said equipment in all workout areas has been arranged to allow for social distancing and all facilities will be cleaned and sanitized.

The YMCA's locker rooms, hot tubs, steam rooms and swimming pools will remain temporarily closed. Child watch programs will be phased in, and day camps will open when regulating agencies allow them to safely do so, officials said in a news release.

“Taking care of our health is more important now than ever before. The YMCA has served the El Paso community for more than 134 years, during which we have made it through many challenging times together,” Bill Coon, CEO of YMCA of El Paso, said in a statement.

Information:www.elpasoymca.org 


Update 8:45 p.m. May 14 - Coronavirus cases spike; 151 reported in one day

The El Paso Department of Public Health has attributed a dramatic spike in new confirmed COVID-19 cases to increased testing.

On Thursday, the department reported 151 coronavirus cases and two more deaths in El Paso County. The man in his 50s and woman in her 60s had underlying health conditions.

Charted: New reported COVID-19 cases by day in El Paso County

"Today, we have seen a dramatic spike in positive cases. This is due in large part to the increased testing throughout the county," said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, city/county health authority. "The spike also means that this virus is still very active in our community, and so I must once again stress — as I always do — the need for everyone to take the necessary health precautions."

The city has expanded testing with the assistance of a Rapid Response Team deployed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and estimates more than 15,700 tests have been performed within El Paso County.

Testing is free and available to anybody from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Make an appointment at www.TXCOVIDTest.org or by calling 512-883-2400.


Update May 13 - Five more people die of COVID-19 in El Paso County

COVID-19 data 5-13

Source: City of El Paso Department of Public Health

The El Paso Public Health Department reported on Wednesday that five more people have died of COVID-19 in El Paso County, bringing the total number of deaths to 41.

The patients all had underlying health conditions and include two men in their 70s, a man in his 50s, a woman in her 40s and a woman in her 70s. 

The city also reported 43 new confirmed COVID-19 cases. There are 73 coronavirus patients that are hospitalized, and 35 of those are in the intensive care unit.

“It is with a heavy heart that we are once again reporting a spike in COVID-19 deaths with the loss of five members of our community. We send our very deepest condolences to their loved ones,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, city/county health authority, in a news release. “One of the trends that we are seeing is that COVID-19 is gravely affecting those who are diabetic, have high blood pressure and/or have heart disease."


Update 8:25 p.m. May 12 - Three more people die of COVID-19 in El Paso County

COVID-19 stats 5-12

Source: City of El Paso Department of Public Health

The Department of Public Health on Tuesday reported three more people have died of COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths to 36. The two men in their 60s and a woman in her 90s had underlying health conditions.

The health department also reported 65 new confirmed COVID-19 cases. So far, 719 people have recovered from the coronavirus, and there are 658 active cases in El Paso County. 

Charted: New reported COVID-19 cases by day in El Paso County

“It is another heartbreaking day for our community as we report three new deaths due to COVID-19. We send our deepest condolences to the families of these three individuals,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, city/county health authority. “Our community is once again seeing a considerable increase in positive COVID-19 cases. I must once again urge everyone — as I do nearly every day — to please take responsibility for your own actions, if not for your own health then for the health of your loved ones.”


Update 2:20 p.m. May 12 - El Paso area jobless claims approach 58,000

A historic number of El Pasoans continue to file jobless claims, with another 4,728 filing applications the week ending May 9, Workforce Solutions Borderplex reports.

That number is likely to be revised upward, but continues a trend of slowing claims. About 6,877 filed unemployment claims the week before and 7,200 the week before that.

Still, the new jobless claims, which are a rough proxy for layoffs, bring the two-month total to a startling 57,700.

Charted: Unemployment surges in El Paso

The numbers fluctuate as “the system processes an unprecedented volume of claims,” according to Workforce Solutions Borderplex. The weekly report covers six counties: Brewster, Culbertson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis and Presidio.

Workforce Solutions Borderplex has about 3,900 available jobs listed at WorkinTexas.com, including jobs at Food City, Growing Concern, IDA Technology, Plaza Properties, Readyone Industries, Spartan Construction and Jerusalem International Food & Grill.


Update: 8:10 p.m. May 11 - COVID-19 testing now available to those with no symptoms

El Paso residents can now get tested for COVID-19 whether or not they have symptoms. Testing is free.

The testing locations are drive-thru and by appointment only. Schedule an appointment at TXCovidTest.org or by calling 512-883-2400.

The El Paso Department of Public Health Monday night reported eight new confirmed COVID-19 cases. There are 80 patients hospitalized. Thirty-four of those are in the intensive care unit.

Workforce Solutions Borderplex has launched a virtual Rapid Response Program which offers personalized plans to businesses and workers affected by closures and employment cutbacks.

Personalized plans for jobseekers include job search, resume assistance, labor market information, career guidance, free training and education courses, according to a news release.

Personalized plans for businesses include free job postings, fidelity bonding, work opportunity tax credit and job candidate screenings.

For more information, email RapidResponse@BorderplexJobs.com.


Update: 9:15 a.m. May 11 - COVID-19 cases increase as governor sends Rapid Response Team

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott deployed a Rapid Response Team to El Paso to support the city's efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Over the weekend, there were 64 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and one death - a man in his 60s with underlying health conditions. There are 85 patients who are hospitalized, with 39 of those in the intensive care unit. So far, 685 people have recovered and there are 622 active cases.

“Due to the recent spike in COVID-19 positive cases and deaths, I contacted Gov. Abbott on Friday for assistance with more testing capacity and hot-spot epidemiology analysis,” El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said. “He agreed to send his Rapid Response Team to El Paso immediately, and they arrived Saturday to begin supporting our public health team."

According to the city, testing through the Department of Public Health and private labs has increased 32%.

The Rapid Response Team and city have expanded access to coronavirus testing, opening new drive-thru locations. Testing is free and available to anyone with symptoms and those in high-risk groups. To make an appointment go online to TXCovidTest.org or call 512-883-2400.

The signs and symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, include fever, chills, cough, fatigue, body aches, muscle or joint pain, shortness of breath, sore throat, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, nasal congestion, loss of taste and loss of smell.


Update: 5:50 p.m. May 7 - Seven new coronavirus deaths reported in El Paso county as the city, state begin opening more businesses Friday

Mayor Dee Margo today said seven more people have died of COVID-19 in El Paso County, bringing the death toll to 30. All had "significant" underlying conditions, Margo said.

City leaders also reported 71 new cases in the county, bringing the total to 1,190, and attributing the increase to gatherings during the Easter holiday in mid-April.

Among the new cases are 33 at a detention facility city officials would not name, and one at a separate detention facility. El Paso Matters' Bob Moore on Twitter reported the outbreak is at the Rogelio Sanchez State Jail, citing data from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

The department is "conducting some targeted testing of asymptomatic offenders who may be more vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus," according to its website.

El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said Ascarate Park will be closed on Sunday, Mother's Day, as a way "to take away an opportunity to gather" because people have been getting together there in large crowds.


Update 4:50 p.m. May 7 - COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites to open at Walmart

The city has partnered with Walmart to open drive-thru testing sites starting Friday, May 8.

The locations are at 4530 Woodrow Bean in Northeast; 1850 N Zaragoza on the Eastside; and 7555 N. Mesa on the Westside. They will be open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

If you're interested in being tested, visit www.DoINeedaCOVID19test.com to determine if you are eligible and to make an appointment.

The sites will be supported by Walmart, eTrueNorth and state and local officials to test anyone who meets Centers for Disease Control 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, officials said in a news release.

Testing will not be available inside the stores, officials said.


Updated May 6, 8:45 a.m. - Gov. Greg Abbott to allow Texas hair salons and pools to reopen Friday and gyms to open May 18

By Patrick Svitek / The Texas Tribune

Linda’s Hair Studio

Omar Delgado cuts the hair of Gonzalo Hernandez at Linda’s Hair Studio in Canutillo. Delgado opened his shop Friday as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott further eased the restrictions he imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Gov. Greg Abbott will allow hair salons and pools in Texas to reopen Friday and gyms on May 18, moving more quickly than expected to further restart the Texas economy during the coronavirus pandemic.

The businesses will be required to follow certain rules, however, as the state continues to grapple with the novel coronavirus. For example, hairstylists will only be able to work with one customer at a time, while gyms can only reopen at 25% capacity, and their showers and locker rooms should remain closed.

Abbott announced the upcoming reopenings during a news conference Tuesday at the state Capitol in Austin, four days after he let stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls reopen at 25% capacity. He had initially eyed May 18 as the earliest date to start further reopenings, but in recent days he has faced growing pressure from some in his own party to move more quickly.

Even as Abbott rolled out the additional reopenings, he braced Texans for "flare-ups in certain regions" and said the state has assembled "surge response teams" to dispatch to such problem areas.

After discussing barbershops and gyms, Abbott said state officials also want to reopen another type of business — bars — but are still figuring out how to do so safely. He said he wants feedback from bar owners, given that "not all bars are the same," particularly when it comes to size.

Abbott also announced two other kinds of reopenings for May 18. He said office buildings can open with either five or fewer workers or 25% of the workforce, whichever is greater. Manufacturers that have been deemed nonessential can also reopen May 18, as long as they limit their occupancy to 25%.

The Friday reopenings, Abbott said, apply to "cosmetology salons, barbershops, hair salons, nail salons and tanning salons." In addition to limiting stylists to one customer at a time, Abbott recommended salons use an appointment system only, and if they accept walk-ins, those customers should only wait inside if they can practice social distancing. Stylist stations should also be 6 feet apart, and Abbott said he strongly recommends stylists and customers wear masks.

"Gov. Greg Abbott to allow Texas hair salons and pools to reopen Friday and gyms to open May 18" was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans – and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

El Paso health department reports new COVID-19 cases, urges El Pasoans to wear face masks

The El Paso Public Health Department on Tuesday, May 5, reported 51 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and urged El Pasoans to wear face masks.

So far, 514 people have recovered from COVID-19. There are 544 active cases in El Paso County, and 22 people have died. Seventy-one patients are hospitalized, and 40 of those are in the ICU.

Charted: New reported COVID-19 cases by day in El Paso County

City and county officials say they are reviewing the local emergency order in response to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s amendments to expand business openings.

“We can only continue to reopen our economy if the community does their part to social distance, wear face coverings and not gather,” El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said in a news release. “It is critical everyone, businesses and residents, follow these guidelines so we do not jeopardize our public health.”

Face coverings are still mandated in El Paso, but they are not required on anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or exercising outdoors and not within 6 feet of anybody not from the same household, according to the city.


Updated May 5, 11 a.m. - Jobless claims exceed 50,000, but number of new applications starts to decline

A historic number of El Pasoans continue to file jobless claims, but the number of new applications has started to slow, a little.

El Pasoans filed 4,958 claims the week ending April 30, Workforce Solutions Borderplex reported Monday night. That number is likely to be revised upward, but continues a trend of slowing claims. About 7,200 El Pasoans filed unemployment claims the week before.

Charted: Unemployment surges in El Paso

The numbers fluctuate as “the system processes an unprecedented volume of claims,” according to Workforce Solutions Borderplex. The report is published by the workforce agency every Monday and covers six counties: Brewster, Culbertson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis and Presidio.


Updated May 4, 7:50 p.m. - Health department revises number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized, announces new cases

The El Paso Public Health Department says it underreported the number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital Sunday due to a "clerical error." There were 59 hospitalized, not the 31 that was previously reported.

Charted: New reported COVID-19 cases by day in El Paso County

On Monday, there were 31 new confirmed COVID-19 cases reported, bringing the total number to 1,029, the number of deaths remains at 22.

So far, 486 people have recovered, so there are now 521 active cases within El Paso County. The number of deaths remains at 22.

“Residents need to understand that social gathering are not allowed,” Dr. Hector Ocaranza, city/county health authority, said in a news release. “Going shopping or out to eat with anyone that does not live with you such as your extended family or friends is not allowed.

"If you must go to the store, then please go alone and keep it to a minimum and try to avoid being out of your home. Take responsibility for yourself in order to keep our community safe.”


Updated May 1, 11:30 a.m. - What's open, closed, off limits 

Here’s some of what’s open or closed across El Paso as of Friday, May 1.

All open spaces and facilities must follow the local health authority’s order or guidance and safety protocols.

Golf courses, including Ascarate Golf Course, are open

Private tennis courts are open

Public tennis courts at city parks remain closed

City parks remain closed except for walking on designated walking paths.

Playgrounds and basketball courts in city parks remain closed and off limits

City museums, libraries and recreation centers remain closed

El Paso Zoo remains closed

Ascarate Park is open for walking/biking trails, tennis and handball courts; playgrounds, basketball courts and sport fields will remain closed

Fishing and kayaking at Ascarate is allowed 

Social gatherings of any kind are strongly discouraged

Information: epstrong.org

Cielo Vista Mall: Reopened Friday, May 1. Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday. Reopening dates for individual tenants vary. Infosimon.com/mall/cielo-vista-mall

Bassett Center: Reopened Friday, May 1. Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday. Reopening dates for individual tenants vary. Infoshopbassettplace.com

Outlet Shoppes of El Paso: Reopened Friday, May 1. Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Reopening dates for individual tenants vary. Info: theoutletshoppesatelpaso.com

Sunland Park Mall: Reopens staring Monday, May 4. Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday. Reopening dates for individual tenants vary. Info: sunlandparkmall.com; @sunlandparkmall on Facebook; @shopsunlandpark on Instagram.

 


Updated May 1, 10 a.m. - COVID-19 deaths in county reach 21; city leaders reinstate use of face masks, prohibit gatherings; testing sites added

Three more people have died of COVID-19, city officials said Thursday, bringing the total number of deaths from the virus in El Paso County to 21.

Officials also reported 37 new cases, bringing the county's total to 924.  To-date, 397 people have recovered from COVID-19, officials added.

Charted: New reported COVID-19 cases by day in El Paso County

Because of the continued upswing in positive coronavirus cases and deaths, city and county leaders on Thursday amended the Local Emergency Directive to make face coverings mandatory and prohibit all public and private social gatherings of any number of people occurring outside or inside a single household or dwelling unit.


Testing sites added to region’s rural communities

The Office of Emergency Management has been working with the Texas Department of Emergency Management to provide additional testing sites for the county’s rural communities. 

The dates and locations are as follow:

May 12

Fabens: Fabens Fire Station-16001 Socorro Rd

Montana Vista: Montana Vista Fire Station 2, 5411 Paso View

May 13

San Elizario: San Elizario Fire Station-1415 San Antonio

Horizon: Horizon First Baptist Church; 12018 Darrington 

Vinton:  West Valley Fire Department: 510 Vinton 

You can make an appointment 24 hours prior to the testing date at TXCOVIDTEST.ORG or 512-883-2400.


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