EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The director of the Department of Public Health announced this afternoon 7 fully vaccinated people in El Paso have died of  COVID-19.

Angela Mora, the city’s spokeswoman explained all of them had underlying health conditions. The first death was reported on July 8th, just under two weeks ago. The city did not say how old the victims were or which vaccine they received.

“Any vaccine we get, we’re going to be seeing a breakthrough case,” said Dr. Ocaranza.

El Paso’s health authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza said it’s only a matter of time until the Delta variant appears in El Paso. He added other variants have been detected but not the Delta, which is a highly contagious strain in the U.S. causing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases across the world.

The Delta variant is now estimated to account for 83% of all new COVID-19 cases. The country averaging more than 35,000 cases per day, and nearly up 60 % in the last week. Lawmakers in at least 8 states, including right here in Texas, have banned mask mandates in schools, which critics say, could curve the spread of the virus.

“As we continue to see new cases, we know that the possibility of having the delta variant in our community is very high, even though we haven’t proved it yet, but definitely the number of cases that is increasing and the fact that all across the country, we have seen that the Delta variant has been the most predominant variant across the country,” said Dr. Ocaranza.

While labs in El Paso cannot test for the Delta variant, the city and county health authority says that they are on the look out for signs of the variant, but Ocaranza adds that there has been a slight increase in COVID-19 related hospitalizations in El Paso over the last two weeks. Saying those testing positive for COVID are being closely monitored, and samples are being sent to the state to testing if doctors believe a variant may be present.

“Having the disease, it carries a lot more long term complications to the people then receiving the vaccine,” said Dr. Ocaranza.

Health officials continue to recommend getting vaccinated and claiming it is the best way to protect anyone against the virus. Claiming the vaccine does not make anyone 100% immune, but it greatly decreases the chances of having severe symptoms, and the need of being hospitalized. Ocaranza added the vaccine protects against the Delta variant and that they are closely monitoring cases.

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