El Paso, Texas (KTSM) — During a news conference on Wednesday, El Paso County Judge Ricardo A. Samaniego extended a County stay home order.
The updated order, Order No. 14, will stay in effect until Dec. 1, unless an appeals court rules otherwise. Samaniego said he wanted to ensure that the order is in place through Thanksgiving.
“We as a community did not fair well with prior holidays and we’re still dealing with the domino effects of the peaks we encountered during these holidays,” Samaniego said.
The court is expected to rule on the legality of the order later this week. As of now, the order will remain in place, Samaniego said.
“Everyday that the County’s order stays in effect saves lives,” he said.
Samaniego said El Paso has a total six mobile morgues with four currently in use and another four on the way.
He said with 51 percent of all El Paso patients in the hospital with COVID-19, non-essential business should remain closed.
“As long as our hospitalization rates continue to be at 30 percent and above I will continue to do all I can to protect our community with a stay at home order,” Samaniego said.
His order details a matrix at which businesses can reopen according to hospitalization rates.
- At a hospitalization rate of 30 percent or above, 0 percent capacity is allowed, limiting businesses to curbside or to-go options.
- A hospitalization rate 25 percent to 29.9 percent allows for businesses to reopen at 25 percent capacity
- A hospitalization rate between 15.1 percent to 24.9 percent allows for capacities at 50 percent
But some local businesses disagree with this model and the shutdown altogether. LuAnn Wieland, owner of 1st Impressions hair salon in West El Paso, says the first shutdown in the spring made sense because people were first learning about the virus.
“This time around as it’s just our county, there’s no funding,” Wieland said. “At this point, we know more, we know there is contact tracing, we know where things are coming from, from shopping and big box stores.”
As Samaniego updated the community on the order, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that he has deployed additional resources to El Paso and Lubbock to help combat COVID-19. These resources include medical personnel, medical equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE), mobile testing sites and more.
“The State of Texas is ensuring that our communities hit the hardest by COVID-19 have the resources and support they need to keep people safe and bring hospitalization rates back down,” said Governor Abbott. “We continue to work closely with local officials in El Paso and Lubbock to meet the needs of each community and mitigate the spread of this virus.”
TDEM and DSHS have deployed more than 1,350 medical personnel to the El Paso region with more being deployed as needed. The Alternate Care Site in El Paso, established in late October, is increasing capacity from 65 beds to 100 beds by Friday.
Last week, Abbott announced that three U.S. Air Force Medical Specialty Teams have been deployed by the U.S. Department of Defense to assist area hospitals. DSHS has also deployed six AMUs to assist area hospitals with surge capacity.
TDEM continues to provide the El Paso community with more than 9.1 million masks, more than 3 million gloves, more than 964,000 gowns and coveralls and more than 245,000 face shields. The State is currently operating eight testing sites across El Paso County.
You can view the order in full here:
You can view the conference in the player below.