EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – El Paso Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza said there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases in El Paso along with pediatric beds at full capacity at the El Paso Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Ocaranza provided an update during El Paso City Council’s agenda review Monday morning.

Ocaranza said there has been a four-fold increase in COVID cases, new hospitalizations doubling in 2-3 weeks and over 100 patients hospitalized with COVID.

He said they are starting to see the expected increase by late fall and winter, also encouraging the Bivalent booster to prevent severe illness and hospitalization.

Dr. Ocaranza also updated on the increase of other respiratory illnesses such as the flu and RSV.

RSV is mostly affecting children under the age of 4, according to Dr. Ocaranza. RSV pediatric hospital admissions comprise most patients occupying a staffed bed. Staffed pediatric hospital beds are at 100% capacity in the city.

There is currently no vaccine available for RSV.

As for the flu, the health authority said this influenza season is proving to be severe. El Paso saw a 10-fold increase in surveillance cases with the pediatric population most affected.

Dr. Ocaranza said the flu vaccine is very effective against the identified strain this year.

“The only take-home message I have is we really need to practice prevention; we need to focus on that to stay healthy and enjoy the holidays in a healthier, merrier way,” Ocaranza said.

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser asked Dr. Ocaranza about trends across the country, who responded they are seeing an upward trend of COVID across the country.

“We need to continue promoting vaccination as the foundation of all prevention we need to promote preventative measures,” Ocaranza said.

Ocaranza said the El Paso Department of Public Health deployed personnel to local daycares to educate on preventative measures.

For more information on vaccines and local COVID data, visit the city’s website here.