Slow uptick of COVID-19 cases in El Paso reflect Christmas gatherings

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The slow rise of COVID-19 cases in El Paso is starting to reflect any gatherings that occurred during the holiday season.

Local health leaders are urging El Pasoans to continue getting tested especially after the holidays, but also sends a message to those already vaccinated.

We’re approaching the two-week mark since the Christmas holiday which is already starting to show in the number of positive cases slowly creeping in El Paso.

“What we know is that after a big event such as a holiday, about 10 to 14 days we start seeing the slow rise on the number of cases, then after that we see the hospitalizations,” El Paso City and County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza told KTSM.

Dr. Ocaranza said El Paso is now starting to see a slight uptick of cases and hospitalizations following the Christmas holiday. He adds before the holidays, there actually was a decrease of people testing for COVID-19.

“Right now, we’re hoping that these people who have traveled or gathered, or even if they feel sick, they come and get tested. There’s appointments available,” Dr. Ocaranza shared, “We’re seeing that the testing is still there. We still have some demand and probably we’re going to be seeing a little uptick in the demand for testing.”

With fluctuating numbers of reported cases, Dr. Ocaranza said the department of public health focuses on trends, “Before, having 100 cases was a lot but now that we were hovering around 300 and it has remained there for quite a bit of time because we’ve been in several days in the 300’s, then we can say it was a stable number or a trend that it starts going downward or upward.”

For those who have already received the COVID-19 vaccine, health leaders are urging to not let your guard down and continue wearing your mask while following preventive measures against the virus.

“Even if you received one dose of the vaccine, you’re not fully protected because the studies that have been done with the vaccine, even though they say it’s 95% effective of prevention, it’s after the two doses and there’s still going to be some people that might become infected because no vaccine is going to be 100% effective,” Dr. Ocaranza explained.

The city and county health authority also adds that people who have tested positive and have a higher risk of being hospitalized should take advantage of the Bamlanivimab treatment; an infusion of antibodies that directly target the virus.

City staff said over 500 patients have been treated with the infusion so far.

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