EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Paso health officials reported 85 additional COVID-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the number of new cases reported just this week to 594 — a new weekly record total.
Overall, El Paso has reported 3,298 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the first case was announced on March 13. There are no new deaths to report Saturday, keeping the total number of virus fatalities at 90. The number of deaths related to the virus was lower this week — 12 — than last week, which reported 20 deaths.
The number of positive cases in El Paso tops the previous record of 539 in a week, reported May 17- 23. During that week, Governor Abbott deployed a surge team to El Paso to test all nursing home residents and increase testing capacity throughout the city.
At the time, Governor Abbott said El Pasoans should expect to see a brief surge in cases, and then the number of positive cases would begin to decline. That was true last week, where El Paso only reported 439 new virus cases. The decrease was a hopeful sign that El Paso was turning the curve toward a lowering trend. This week’s positive test results burst that hope, and bring El Paso back toward an incline in reported virus cases.
City officials attribute many of this week’s virus cases to an outbreak at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Rogelio Sanchez Unit jail facility in Far East El Paso. The TDCJ reports 283 positive COVID-19 cases in the jail facility, 38 of which are considered recovered. The state also says 25 employees tested positive for the virus, 12 of which are considered recovered.
There are also 51 confirmed virus cases at the El Paso ICE Processing Center as of Saturday. The number of confirmed cases inside the facility has doubled in just the last week.
Overall, the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 remains high. As of Saturday morning, 98 people were hospitalized in El Paso County. Of those, 56 patients are in the ICU, and 36 are on ventilators. The reported patients on ventilators were a new record high total, continuing a growing trend of ICU patients who require breathing assistance due to complications from the virus.
Mobile COVID-19 testing continues throughout the week at multiple sites. Please visit KTSM’s list of testing locations for more information.