EL PASO, Texas — Fueled by rapid spread of the coronavirus among those under 40, El Paso public health leaders reported a pandemic record 441 new cases on Sunday.
Following a week that saw 29 deaths, the start of the new week brought no additional fatalities. The death toll remained at 179.
With Sunday’s huge spike in new cases, the total number of infections to date in El Paso County climbed to 11,573. El Pasoans in their teens, 20’s and 30’s accounted for a whopping 61% of new cases over the past day, compared to only 14% for those in the high-risk age bracket of people over 60.
“Based on the data that we have seen so far we continue to see Covid-19 cases spike in our younger demographics,” said El Paso City/County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza, who added that community spread was the biggest factor.
El Paso’s top doctor said the area’s youth “need to understand the risks of not practicing the safety precautions,” and he urged those in their 20’s and 30’s to “limit interactions” in order to combat virus transmission.
“We must continue to stress to everyone, especially our younger family members, to not let our guard down,” Ocaranza said.
As the debate continues over whether to allow students to return to school classrooms following the issuance of new state educational guidelines in recent days, it was noteworthy that school-aged children – teens and younger – make up 15% of El Paso’s emerging cases, according to Sunday’s public health data.
Another disturbing trend emerging is the ongoing increase in the percentage of those testing positive.
The rolling 7-day average positivity rate on Sunday was 11.78%. The percentage of those testing positive has grown in recent days from 9.87% on Friday and 10.25% on Saturday. Thus far, officials said 128,206 tests have been given in El Paso.
Hospitalization numbers on Sunday did show a decline from Saturday. There are 274 Covid-19 patients currently in El Paso hospitals, with 104 listed in intensive care and 40 needing ventilators – which is up two from the prior day.
Health leaders noted that El Paso’s death rate from the virus is currently 1.5% and the recovery rate is 64%, although it’s important to understand that researchers indicate some recovered persons can still have long-term health issues stemming from contracting the virus.
Full health department virus data can be found by clicking here.