EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — In a month, the City of El Paso’s Department of Public Health registered more than 4,000 active COVID-19 cases, an increase not seen since last year’s peak, according to Mayor Oscar Leeser.
Leeser and district judge Ricardo Samaniego held a joint press conference about COVID-19 on Wednesday morning. They urged El Pasoans who have not received a vaccine to get one and for fully vaccinated individuals to get their booster shots.
“So I’m not trying to be a scaremonger to be honest with you. I just really want to show the numbers where we are now. We were way off where we were a year ago’, says Leeser. “A year ago we were the worst city in the country. So we want to talk about the numbers where we are now so we can make sure we’re doing the right thing and taking precautions.”
Today, the city has registered 826 new COVID-19 cases and more than 100 people with infections are in intensive care units of hospitals in the region, according to Leeser. And a total of 368 people have been hospitalized with COVID-19 infections.
“These numbers are very sobering,” he said.
Leeser said a new variant identified in Texas could mean more cases as individuals shop for holiday gifts.
“I urge you to know your surroundings,” he added.
The introduction of the Omicron variant is still under investigation by the Texas Department of State Health Services, but health officials say it is highly contagious. The variant was identified in a fully vaccinated woman in Harris County after she became infected with COVID-19. She had not traveled outside of her community when she contracted the virus.
Health department data shows that 71.2 percent of all individuals age five and older in the county are fully vaccinated, compared to 54 percent in all of Texas. And 92 percent of all individuals age 65 and older are fully vaccinated and 99 percent partially vaccinated.
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