El Paso Public Health director says Wednesday’s 3,100 cases came from uploading delays; cases on upward trend regardless

El Paso News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — On a day where a staggering 3,100 new virus positives were reported by the City-County, officials said a delay of uploading cases led to the large single-day report.

Late Wednesday evening, the City of El Paso sent KTSM 9 News a statement from Public Health Director Angela Mora reading:

“This week, starting on Sunday, we began transitioning to automatically uploading cases reported by the state and experienced upload issues contributing for the need of a 2-day upload on Tuesday evening of an additional 1,563 cases.

Therefore, if State reports would have been successfully uploaded on the days received, the cases reported today should have been 1,537, not 3,100. We may continue to experience similar situations throughout the week as we continue to refine the automatic upload process. However, we will report any issues daily.”

Public Health Director Angela Mora

However, Mora said regardless, there is an upward trend of positive cases, which in turn will create a continued increase in people requiring hospitalizations and more deaths.

“Each of us must do all we can to stop the spread of the virus. We all need to participate in reducing the spread by not gathering, staying home as much as possible, following isolation and quarantine when someone in the household tests positive,” Mora said.

Dr. Ogechika Alozie, Chief Medical Officer at Del Sol Medical Center, said now more than ever, people need to stay home and follow safety precautions.

“The community really needs to take a step back and figure out where we’re going,” Dr. Alozie said.

He said with the high numbers we’re seeing, putting a pause to social gatherings will be the only way we see a difference.

“The community sort of has to look inside themselves and say, ‘this is not the Thanksgiving to have people over,’ ‘this is not the Christmas to have 30 to 40 people around the tree,'” Alozie said.

El Paso City-County reported eight new deaths and 1,041 hospitalizations on Wednesday.

“That socialness is what’s killing us,” Alozie said. “When we have a positivity rate of 22 percent and testing as much as we are, we’re probably only picking up one to five positives, so today’s 3,000 is potentially 15,000.”

The Office of Emergency Management said one out of every five people testing positive will need hospitalization and that number is a lot higher when considering age, pre-existing medical conditions, etc.

“The number of individuals requiring hospitalization due to COVID-19 continue to increase on a daily basis,” OEM Coordinator Jorge Rodriguez said in an email statement.

Rodriguez said more than 1,400 medical personnel have been brought in by the state, in addition to the Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMAT) from the federal agencies. The medical auxiliary tents have been set up at all hospitals and the alternate care site at the Convention Center continues to take patients. More than 30 ICU patients have been flown to other Texas hospital systems.

“People need to understand we have a raging epidemic; its potentially out of control and, as a community, we need to come together to control this,” Alozie said.

Mora said the Department of Public Health is currently expanding contact tracing capacity through a continued partnership with Texas Health Trace, onboarding an additional 80 staffers; and through an agreement with UTEP for an additional Contact Tracing team of 49 individuals. Added capacity will allow for management of approximately 4,000 cases daily.

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