Abbott sending COVID-19 surge team to tackle El Paso surge
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — An ongoing wave of COVID-19 cases in the El Paso area prompted Gov. Greg Abbott to announce Monday that a surge team of medical professionals would be dispatched to the area.
The 75 doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists being dispatched will be accompanied by a supply of extra personal protective equipment to support efforts by El Paso hospitals to meet the surge of coronavirus infections. The team will be in addition to the 169 professionals the state previously sent to the area.
As of Monday, 313 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in El Paso, Hudspeth and Culberson counties of West Texas. The state estimated that active COVID-19 cases in El Paso County alone soared from almost 4,000 on Oct. 1 to just over 6,000 Monday. Seven cases were fatal during that period.
“It is vital that Texas communities seeing an uptick in hospitalizations have the resources they need to combat COVID-19,” the Texas Republican said in a statement. “This surge in medical personnel and PPE will help support El Paso’s hospitals and first responders as we mitigate the spread of this virus. The State of Texas will continue to work alongside local officials and prioritize the health and safety of Texans.”
Statewide, the coronavirus caseload since the outbreak began in March continued to approach 800,000 Monday.
Texas health officials reported 2,384 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19, but the addition of 264 previously unreported cases raised the Monday total to 2,648 cases.
The newly reported cases raised to 795,126 the total caseload reported in Texas since tracking and tracing of the pandemic began in March, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported. An estimated 75,034 of those cases are active, with 3,870 of those requiring hospitalization.
However, the true number of cases in Texas is likely higher though because many people haven’t been tested and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.
The state reported just one death from COVID-19 Monday, raising the state’s pandemic death toll to 16,558.
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.