El Paso city and county leaders still aren’t ready to reopen restaurants, bars, hair salons and nonessential businesses, but Gov. Greg Abbott says it’s time. On May 18, when Abbott announced phase two of reopening Texas, El Paso was put on hold for a week to give the border town more time to fight a rising number of coronavirus cases.
The governor now thinks El Paso is ready to move to the second phase of reopening despite the fact that city leaders don’t feel their case count has peaked.
Abbott addressed the COVID-19 situation in El Paso in an interview with KFOX14, noting that a key metric in his decision was the amount of testing taking place and stabilization in the hospital rate.
Abbott originally had a concern that hospital capability would be overrun. The key thing, Abbott said, is that everything seems to be leveling out. He said the state’s surge relief team helped stabilize the situation.
El Paso has logged 2,623 cases of COVID-19.
Last Wednesday during an interview with CBS4, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said that it is counterintuitive to open when deaths are going up. On the spike of hospitalizations in El Paso he said, “If I were to say that because of the openings, that’s why we have more cases, the argument will be no, that was Mother’s Day and then it will be Memorial Day and then next it will be Fourth of July.”
On Friday, Dr. Hector Ocaranza with the El Paso city and county health authority shared his concern.
“We cannot let our guard down and we need to continue to send the message to the community that even though the businesses are going to start to open we need to take every single precaution that we have been mentioning before,” Ocaranza said. “If we don’t need to go out, then let’s not go out … we need to balance health and the economy with the most vulnerable in mind.”
Meanwhile, Texas hit another high in daily positive cases of coronavirus over the weekend, reporting close to 2,000 cases Sunday.