EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The City of El Paso Department of Public Health released data identifying ten clusters seen at 120 local facilities that make up 813 of the City’s 2,340 positive COVID-19 cases.
- Care facilities for the elderly (21 facilities, 216 cases)
- General businesses (40 facilities, 187 cases)
- Healthcare facilities (26 facilities, 180 cases)
- Correctional-Detention facilities (six facilities, 102 cases)
- Government (13 facilities, 52 cases)
- Call centers (five facilities, 33 cases)
- Big Box stores (six facilities, 15 cases)
- Construction (four facilities, 12 cases)
- Schools (four facilities, 12 cases)
- Shelters (one facility, four cases)
In addition to the clusters, the source of exposure in 50% of all local cases is close contact with family members, friends, or co-workers. Twenty percent are community-transmitted, meaning there is no known source of the virus, and another 20% are related to travel outside the region. The Department of Public Health says ten percent of the cases are still under investigation.
“Clusters, or multiple infections within the same setting, is just one of the reasons we urge the community to practice social distancing; to stay home whenever possible; to not go out if you’re feeling sick; wear a face covering and to avoid large gatherings,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, City/County Health Authority.
KTSM has previously identified several specific locations of these clusters, including Target on Sunland Park, the El Paso Psychiatric Center, El Paso ICE Processing Center, TDCJ Rogelio Sanchez Unit, El Paso County Juvenile Detention, and more recently, the El Paso County Detention Center.
The City did not release the details of exact locations for the clusters, but it gives El Pasoans an idea of the types of facilities where the virus is likely to spread the fastest.
“Our contact tracers work quickly to identify those who might have been exposed, where they might have been exposed, and recommend isolation/quarantine. This is how it is possible to find clusters. When one is found, in many ways is like setting off an alarm. Once the alarm goes off, you must respond quickly because every moment wasted will allow the virus to spread further. The faster the infected individuals are identified and isolated, the better chance we have to reduce and control the spread. However, we need the public’s cooperation to do their part, heed our warnings and help reduce the risk of infection that might lead to more deaths and families left without a loved one,” said Dr. Ocaranza.