EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — El Paso and Juarez, Mexico again are reporting spikes in COVID-19 cases and fatalities.
El Paso health officials on Tuesday said nine more coronavirus patients have died, bringing the total to 239 during the pandemic. An additional 225 cases were reported, bringing the total to 13,552.
The city on Monday had reported six deaths and 230 new cases. All of Tuesday’s reported fatalities included individuals over 50 years old with underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension and others.
Chihuahua state officials also reported nine new coronavirus-related fatalities in Juarez, bringing the total in that city across the border from El Paso to 648. The number of infections spiked from 4,198 on Monday to 4,288 on Tuesday.
Health officials in both cities continue to stress social distancing, the wearing of masks and frequent handwashing to prevent further spread of the virus.
Dr. Leticia Ruiz, head of preventive medicine in the state, said the increased mobility since last month’s economic reopening is leading to more cases and placing Juarez and other municipalities at risk of having to scale back activity.
“Last week we were almost back on ‘red.’ We practiced prevention and that kept us on ‘orange’ one more week,” she said about Mexico’s color-coded COVID-19 threat and activity scale. “Once again we are on the edge. We need to stress prevention and slow outdoor mobility.”
Juarez’s “orange” COVID-19 threat level means businesses can be open at 50% capacity. The “red” threat level means all businesses but those considered essential must close again.
Mexican Undersecretary of Health Hugo Lopez-Gatell on Monday evening said he’s watching coronavirus developments in Chihuahua.
“It’s to be expected once people leave confinement to have these spikes. It’s possible that some states may go back to ‘red.’ That should surprise no one. It’s frustrating because one would like to have progressive control of the epidemic to allow further opening f economic activity,” the Undersecretary said.