The southwest border county of El Paso, Texas, has issued a curfew in an effort to curb the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases. County Judge Ricardo Samaniego mandated residents must remain home between the hours of 10 pm and 5 am until further notice. The order includes a directive for wearing a mask, which is punishable by a $500 fine. Those who break the curfew could face fines up to $250.
The judge stated in a virtual press conference held on Sunday, “the positivity rate and hospitalizations have exploded in recent weeks,” adding the curfew is intended to limit mobility in the region which has seen 160% increased infections and 300% in hospitalizations, with area hospitals being “stretched to capacity.”
By Sunday, there were 517 new cases reported, bringing the county’s total to 39,326 with a reported death toll of 575. Striking a balance between slowing the spread and keeping the local economy going is a challenge the judge said “is required for us to continue our battle against this very insidious virus.” The US Department of Health and Human Services will deploy a 35-member medical disaster team to Texas this week to assist with critical care, according to the Governor’s office.
Mayor Dee Margo said a recent study found big-box store shopping and dining out are the main contributing factors to the rapid increase in positive cases, along with travel and parties. The mayor implored citizens to take the situation seriously and avoid get-together’s – especially during the upcoming holidays.
Ann Sullivan is a contributing staff writer covering national and world news topics. She brings dedicated experience having written international and domestic news, blogs, and web content for over 20 years. She’s also a published poet and graphic designer with degrees in Business and Graphic Communications and has been a music distributor, music industry sponsorship sales director and band manager.