El Paso COVID-19 Hospitalizations highest since March 2021


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Over 300 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in El Paso, with 100 in the ICU. That’s the highest number of hospitalizations related to the virus El Paso has seen since March of 2021 when vaccines became widely available locally.

City and County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza says the hospitalization rate is his biggest concern.

“One of the biggest challenges that the hospitals have are keeping beds staffed they don’t have enough staff and the health care resources are very limited the way we have it here in our community and that’s why we need to be very cognizant of that,” said Ocaranza.

He added that we are not seeing the COVID-19 impact from Thanksgiving yet, and we won’t be seeing the full impact of the holidays until next year. Ocaranza explains that the current increase in cases is coming from people being tired of COVID-19 and an increase in travel.

However, Ocaranza says the number of people getting their booster shots in El Paso is encouraging.

“We know that there’s people who might be hesitant to receive the booster because of the reaction they got to the second dose of the vaccine. But with all of these rising cases, we see people that start coming and get tested and also we start seeing people come and receive the vaccine…”

City and County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza

One El Pasoan, Melinda Signorino says she is fully vaccinated and has her booster shot, but says she gathered with people for Thanksgiving and someone ended up having COVID-19.

“We were exposed with somebody that tested positive so I’m here today getting tested just to make sure that everything is safe,” said Signorino.

As for the new COVID-19 variant Omicron, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Armando Meza says so far they have not seen any changes in the mortality rate with the Omicron variant, however many patients don’t have symptoms.

“This is being transmitted all over the world by now and most likely because many of these patients don’t have any symptoms there is a good chance that there will be more spreading of this virus than we anticipate,” said Meza.

Meza adds that there is no evidence yet on whether or not the COVID-19 vaccinations will be less effective against the Omicron variant.

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