El Paso County in Texas has issued a curfew amid a “crisis stage” in new COVID-19 infections — which have left hospitals and ICUs at full capacity and forced officials to request additional morgue space.
County Judge Ricardo Samaniego enacted a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew Sunday evening, The El Paso Times reported.
It applies to everyone, unless a person is going to work for an essential service. Violations are punishable by a $500 fine, according to the report.
Samaniego said that hospitals and intensive care units in the county — which includes the city of El Paso — are overwhelmed.
“The purpose of the curfew is to limit mobility in the community,” Samaniego said during a virtual press conference Sunday night. “Currently our hospitals are stretched to capacity.”
The county has seen a 160 percent increase in COVID-19 positivity rate since October 1 and a 300 percent increase in hospitalizations, he added.
“We’ve had significant spikes to the point that our hospital capacity is really tapped,” El Paso Mayor Dee Margo told CNN’s Ana Cabrera on Newsroom Sunday night. “We’re probably at the end of our rope there. It’s not good here at all.”
A record 1,443 new COVID-19 cases were announced in El Paso Monday, KVIA reported, citing public health department records.
Hospitalizations soared to 853, also a new record.
One new coronavirus-related death was reported Monday, bringing the death toll to 576 in El Paso County, according to the report.
Officials on Sunday echoed an earlier plea for residents to stay home for two weeks.
“For the sake of those hospitalized and the frontline healthcare workers working tirelessly each day to care for them, we ask you to please stay home for two weeks and eliminate your interactions with those outside your household until we can flatten the curve,” El Paso Public Health Director Angela Mora said in a statement obtained by the Times.
The El Paso civic center will be converted into a medical care site and some patients will be flown to other cities as hospitals grapple with surging numbers of COVID-19 patients, according to the report.
In addition, agreements are underway for more morgue space in the area, Samaniego said, according to CNN.
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