EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) —City officials urged the community not to gather for the Thanksgiving holiday as COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths continue to increase in El Paso.
“We still have a dire situation in El Paso,” Dr. Hector Ocaranza, the city-county health authority said.
On Thursday El Paso officials reported 19 new deaths, bringing the total to 823. This sets the City on pace to reach 1,000 deaths by the end of 2020, as 435 deaths are under investigation.
“Unfortunately we still see a lot of people passing away, we know that we have a lot of risk factors to develop complications and pass away,” Dr. Ocaranza said.
Mayor Dee Margo said updated contact tracing data shows 55% of new virus cases come from shopping at big retail stores. Margo said this was an optimistic trend.
“Why am I hopeful over that ,because it points out areas we need to address,” Margo said.
City officials also said El Paso is more prepared to distribute the upcoming COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they are available.
Margo Said El Paso will have seven sites to store the Pfizer vaccine that’s anticipated to be ready by the end of the year.
El Paso Public Health Director Angela Mora said 139 local providers have now enrolled to distribute the vaccine. She estimates that El Paso is ready to distribute the vaccine in large quantities.
“I’m happy to hear that we are ahead of the game, El Paso, compared to other Texas communities at least,” she said. “So we will try to be ahead of the game in terms of the preparing of this vaccine in El Paso.”
Those first vaccines would be available to a select few in the community, including health care workers and high-risk patients.
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