One year after first COVID-19 death in El Paso, city leaders and health experts reflect

El Paso News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — April 9, 2020, was a grim day in the Borderland. It was the day City of El Paso leaders announced the first reported COVID-19-related death in El Paso.

Officials said it was a man in his eighties who also had underlying conditions, but his identity was not released.

Now, a year later, El Paso reports 2,464 virus-related deaths and 83 under investigation. Six more deaths were reported on Friday. Dr. Hector Ocaranza, the City-County Health Authority, said this year has been tough on all the families experiencing death from COVID-19.

“Unfortunately, because of all the restrictions what happened was that they were not able to spend time with them until the very end so it was very tragic it is extremely hard and we still, we will never get over having to report deaths,” Ocaranza said.

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser said the community has come a long way since this time last year. Mayor Lesser, who was not in office at the time the first death was reported, also experienced death in his family. AS KTSM previously reported, his mother and brother both died from COVID-19 complications.

However, he said it’s important the community continues moving toward vaccinations.

“We do have a vaccine and 44 percent of people in El Paso have received a vaccine and 27 more percent are fully vaccinated and a huge number is 75 percent of seniors have been fully vaccinated,” Leeser said.

Ocaranza said he expects the community to reach herd immunity when 70-80% of the population receives a vaccine.

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