EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The city of El Paso has announced one new additional death related to COVID-19 in El Paso.
This brings the total number of deaths in El Paso to seven.
The City of El Paso Department of Public Health the patient was a male in his 60s with underlying health conditions.
El Paso is also reporting a third day of double-digit increases with 58 new COVID-19 cases bringing the county’s total number to 451.
Positive cases in El Paso County include 232 females and 219 males, health officials said.
Health officials also reported on Thursday that there are now 48 patients hospitalized, and 10 of those are currently in ICU.
Health officials said the large increase in cases is due in part to an increase in testing.
Officials point out that the testing rate in El Paso is three and a half times greater than the national average. Approximately 5.9 per 1,000 residents have been tested for COVID-19 as compared to 1.6 per 1,000 nationally, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
While private labs are only required to report positive numbers, the Department of Public Health has been working with the private laboratories to obtain their total numbers. To-date it is estimated that more than 5,000 tests have been performed, of which DPH has performed more than 1,000 tests.
“As much as we wish we were; we are not at a point in time where we are able to test the entire population. We are still being strategic about how we test, focusing on at-risk populations, such as the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, City/County Health Authority. “There is no question that we have to be judicious with the scarce resources we have, but we are still above the national average when it comes to testing.”
In addition to strict testing regulations, local law enforcement will also be modifying the process to increase enforcement on those who ignore the City and County’s Stay Home, Work Safe orders. Residents who call 3-1-1 to report non-compliance will receive real-time response from enforcement officials. Fire marshals will be responding to reports of businesses operating outside of the restrictions, and police will be responding to local residences.
The changes come as public health officials warn that non-compliance during the past Easter weekend will likely lead to a sharp increase in cases in the coming days and weeks.