Official: El Paso hospitals near ‘breaking point’ from virus

FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2020, file photo, vehicles are lined up for drive-thru COVID-19 testing in El Paso, Texas. As the coronavirus pandemic surges across the nation and infections and hospitalizations rise, medical administrators are scrambling to find enough nursing help — especially in rural areas and at small hospitals. (Aaron E. Martinez/The El Paso Times via AP, File)

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — El Paso hospitals are near a “breaking point” as 3,100 new cases of the coronavirus were reported there Wednesday, an official said.

“Hospitalizations continue to rise sharply and unfortunately more people we know will continue to succumb to the complications of this disease,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, El Paso’s city and county health authority.

“Our hospitals are near breaking point, we need everyone to do their part to stop this virus,” he said.

There were 1,041 hospitalizations Wednesday, health officials said.

Texas recently surpassed California in recording the highest number of positive tests for the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University’s data. The latest numbers show 950,345 reported Texas cases.

The true number of infections is likely higher because many people haven’t been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

El Paso has become a hot spot, with the governor sending additional medical personnel and equipment, and local officials ordering a two-week shutdown of nonessential activities.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and a cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

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