Health Authority: Majority of COVID-19 cases due to social gatherings

El Paso News

The City and County Health Authority of El Paso said the striking rise in COVID-19 cases is mainly community spread. More specifically, social gatherings with loved ones.

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The City and County Health Authority of El Paso said the striking rise in COVID-19 cases is mainly community spread. More specifically, social gatherings with loved ones.

It’s been day after day El Paso has been seeing triple-digit increases in the number of new cases. Some El Pasoans have been left wondering if the City will re-enact a Shelter in Place order.

Local health leaders said the best thing we can do for now, is simply do our part by staying safe.

“It is imperative that people understand that these large spikes are due to just gathering and close contact between one another without having the proper precautions,” Dr. Hector Ocaranza, El Paso City/County Health Authority said.

El Paso County has been hitting triple-digit coronavirus spikes for weeks now. Dr. Ocaranza said the virus has been spreading like wildfire, due to community spread and social gatherings, especially with family.

“Some other people might believe that because it’s people from the same family, it doesn’t matter and it’s not going to have the same risk. Unfortunately when we’re gathering between families we don’t wear the masks, we don’t observe the social distancing, and that can lead to a faster spread of the virus among the family,” Dr. Ocaranza shared.

Governor Greg Abbott recently said COVID-19 was spreading at an “unacceptable rate” in Texas.

“The next step would have to have to be a lockdown. The last thing I wanna do, the last thing anybody in Texas wants to do is to see another lockdown,” Abbott said, “Hence, the best thing everybody can do is do this thing that is inconvenient of wearing a face covering knowing it will keep your jobs open, your economy open, and your businesses open.”

“We know before when we had the shelter in place that it helped but actually, what we know is that if we all participate in wearing our face coverings, by not going out if we don’t need to go out, it will have a positive effect in the way we’re going to battling the pandemic,” Dr. Ocaranza added.

Dr. Ocaranza said it’s difficult to predict what’s to come for El Paso County, but it’s been clear there’s been sharp and consistent rises in coronavirus cases,”We as public health give the recommendations but we really need the participation of each and every one of the members of our community.”

City leaders are extending testing for COVID-19 through July 31 at five testing sites and other rural sites. You can check out those locations here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.