Most new COVID-19 cases among unvaccinated, Delta variant not identified in the region


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – El Paso mayor Oscar Leeser says the region is showing encouraging vaccination numbers as nearly 70 percent of individuals between the ages of 12 and up have been fully vaccinated.

El Paso vaccination numbers appear to be outpacing Texas figures, Leeser added during a press conference with El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego.

However, between July 7 and 14, the region recorded 251 new COVID-19 cases, nearly 80 percent of those among unvaccinated individuals. Also, 31 percent of those cases appeared to be between individuals who had traveled and 10 percent required hospitalization.

And, overall, 277 fully-vaccinated individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 since immunization efforts began. Officials say it’s a fraction compared to individuals who have not been vaccinated who have tested positive.

“Today, we have no delta variant cases in El Paso,” Leeser said. “We cannot emphasize the importance of being vaccinated enough.”

Leeser says there has been no trace of the Delta variant identified by testing.

Monday’s announcement is the latest reveal of where El Paso stands amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the first joint news conference between the two elected officials since May when Leeser and Samaniego urged the public to continue wearing masks.

Earlier today, the city of El Paso announced there were 320 new COVID-19 cases identified last week. And, there were also 13 deaths associated with virus infections.

El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego says the region has gone from struggling with severe cases and hospitalizations to being a leader in vaccinating individuals.

But encourages residents to continue getting vaccinated and wear masks.

“To know 76 percent of cases are unvaccinated, that’s a powerful message,” he said.

Mayor Leeser says the city is transferring its lab equipment from the county’s Medical Examiner area to a facility purchases by the city last year. The move will take a few days but should be operational by the first week of August, he added.

He says testing for virus cases and identifying strains is done by state and federal entities who take samples. Those samples typically are taken to Lubbock where labs analyze and review the genetics of the virus strains in positive cases. The processes typically takes 10 days, Leeser added.

Leeser says El Paso has 68 percent of adults fully vaccinated compared with the Texas average of 43 percent. And, 79 percent of El Pasoans 12 and up have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine compared to the 50-percent average in Texas.

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