Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks to how personal responsibility and social distancing is the key to ending the spread of the coronavirus.


County issues nightly 10 p.m. curfew

The El Paso civic center will be converted into a medical care site and some patients will be flown to other cities as local hospitals are being inundated with COVID-19 patients.

As of Sunday morning, a record 786 patients were hospitalized for COVID-19 in El Paso, an increase of 71 patients from the day before, and the number of known active cases was a new record with 11,321, according to city-county health data.

El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego on Sunday evening issued a stay home order with a daily curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., unless going to work or going to an essential service. Violation of the order is punishable by a $500 fine.

“We are in a crisis stage,” Samaniego said, adding that hospitals and intensive care units were filling to capacity.

The curfew is intended to help slow the spread of the virus by reducing the number of people out in public.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Sunday that the Texas Division of Emergency Management will set up an emergency care site with hospital beds, equipment and medical personnel at the civic center this week.

The civic center site will have a capacity of 50 beds and can expand to 100 beds, if needed, the office of the governor said.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is deploying two 35-member disaster medical assistance teams and a trauma critical care team to El Paso, Abbott added. The teams will arrive this week.

Saturday: El Paso County reports an all-time high in coronavirus cases with 1,216 new infections

El Paso public health officials on Sunday again issued a plea for residents to stay home for two weeks to help curb the rapidly rising number of coronavirus infections.

“In less than three weeks we’ve spiked from 259 to 786 COVID-related hospitalizations— a 300% increase. If we continue on this trend, we risk detrimental effects to our entire healthcare system,” El Paso Public Health Director Angela Mora said in a statement.

“For the sake of those hospitalized and the frontline healthcare workers working tirelessly each day to care for them, we ask you to please stay home for two weeks and eliminate your interactions with those outside your household until we can flatten the curve,” she said.

University Medical Center of El Paso registered nurses Claudia Rodriguez, left, and Robin Medley work in one of the tents outside the hospital on April 2. (Photo: Mark Lambie/El Paso Times)

The increase in COVID-19 patients means there are fewer hospital beds for other medical emergencies, including heart attacks, strokes and traffic accident victims.

The governor’s office said that the state has sent more than 900 medical personnel to El Paso, some will staff the auxiliary medical unit in the civic center.

University Medical Center of El Paso has received