EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – COVID-19 has claimed another 31 lives in the El Paso-Juarez area.
The deceased include four residents of El Paso, all 60 years or older with underlying medical conditions, and 27 Juarez, Mexico residents.
Both cities reported a combined 1,627 new infections on Tuesday. The new cases in El Paso nearly doubled those in Juarez (1,085 compared to 542), which is a city more than twice the size of El Paso. This is a frequent disparity that health officials attribute to much more extensive testing taking place in El Paso.
A total of 998 people were hospitalized in El Paso with COVID-19, 175 of them on ventilators.
In Juarez, all five major public hospitals were at 100% capacity as of Tuesday morning. Hospital administrators scrambled to install portable beds in hallways and health officials were trying to complete the installation of a mobile field hospital behind Juarez General Hospital.
“They are working day-in, day-out to add beds. None of our hospitals will close, but there is a waiting list due to the high number of infections,” said Dr. Leticia Ruiz, head of prevention services for the Chihuahua State Health Department.
She said the number of deaths has spiked in the past week because the virus has spread throughout the community. “That’s why we are on red (threat level), that’s why we need to stay home. We don’t know who around us is infected.”
Juarez is the epicenter of the coronavirus in Chihuahua. The city has been under a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for non-essential activities since last week, and this evening was expected to modify that curfew from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Friday in an effort to get more people off the streets.