Large spike in COVID-19 cases in El Paso due to cluster at local correctional facility, officials say

El Paso News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) announced that the large spike of COVID-19 cases reported on Thursday is due to a cluster at a local correctional-detention facility.

Health officials define a cluster as a collection of two or more cases of the virus happening in the same area at the same time.

On Thursday, DPH reported 197 new COVID-19 cases. It’s the largest spike in cases to-date. According to health officials, 145 of those new cases were reported at a local correctional-detention facility. Officials did not release the name of the facility.

“The Cluster Management Task Force has been working to increase testing aimed at testing specific facilities that house at-risk populations, and/or where there is a greater risk for an outbreak to include, among others, care facilities for the elderly and correctional/detention facilities,” said Assistant Fire Chief Jorge A. Rodriguez, Emergency Management Coordinator for the Office of Emergency Management. “We have also worked to provide these facilities guidance on how to address and prevent these outbreaks.”

The news of a cluster comes as the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Rogelio Sanchez State Jail reported 247 active cases and 39 recoveries for offenders as of June 3rd. There are also 12 employees with active cases and 12 who have recovered, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety COVID-19 database. The facility has been put under lockdown and 249 people have been placed in isolation.

U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement are also reporting 51 total cases at the El Paso ICE Processing Facility. Only one employee at the facility has tested positive.

Health officials said the source of exposure for COVID-19 remains at about 50 percent close contact (family members, friends or co-workers); about 20 percent community-transmitted (cases occurring among those who did not have any known contact with infected persons); about 20 percent travel-related and about 10 percent of the cases are under investigation.

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