El Paso sees increase in COVID deaths, County says mobile morgues available


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The number of COVID-19 deaths reported in El Paso increased over the past two weeks.

30 deaths were reported last week and an additional 15 in the past three days. El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego says while the County does still have mobile morgues — the hope is not to use them.

“We’re not using them now but we’re very prepared to be able to go back to that, we decided to keep a couple ourselves and I hate to say that but they’re trailers that are refrigerators and we still have them hoping we don’t go to that situation,” said Samaniego.

Samaniego added that El Paso has the second-highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Texas with 400 people hospitalized with the virus. Samaniego said there was a time when we had 1,800 medical professionals in El Paso from out of town helping during the height of the pandemic but it has now dwindled down to about 100.

“We’re now requesting once again that we get more medical personal from throughout the country,” said Samaniego.

An El Paso funeral home, Perches, tells KTSM 9 News that they have noticed the increase in deaths over the past few weeks.

“It’s very typical for the funeral home industry to see an increment in deaths this time of year, but we are in the past two weeks seeing an increment on COVID deaths, we feel, personally, that we are well prepared or better prepared than in the past months,” Jorge Ortiz the General Manager of Perches Funeral Homes.

Ortiz said the funeral home added a new facility with additional refrigerator space and bought a new crematory.

“We’re at about maybe 70-percent of our capacity at this particular location, we do have our old care center where we have two refrigeration units but we are not using them as of now,” said Ortiz.

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