Last week I relayed the tragic milestone of 14 COVID-related deaths reported in one day in El Paso

On Friday, the City reported 249 new cases, and alarmingly, a 7-day average positivity rate of almost 15 percent. As of Friday, 218 El Pasoans have died from COVID; 39 this week. Hospitalizations are at 317, a new high, although the number of ICU patients dropped from 116 to 105. 48 patients are on a ventilator.

It bears repeating that COVID is not going away soon. It has been almost six months since it was recognized as a global pandemic. According to public health experts, it might be another year or more before the infection is under control or we have a vaccine.

Until that happens, we will continue to see devastating health and economic impacts. It will likely take years for us to recover from these impacts. That’s why we cannot ease our efforts to mitigate COVID, and may in fact need to take further measures.

In the face of this pandemic, I was disappointed in the 5-4 vote by El Paso City Council – with the mayor breaking the tie – to not share the names of businesses where virus clusters have emerged, such as nursing homes. The public has a right to know specifically where there may be hot spots, and other cities are sharing this information with their residents.

Almost 4,900 Texans have died from COVID. The weekly average of new cases was 9,100. The increase in cases appears to be leveling off, in part due to use of masks, but as stated by Rajesh Nandy, a professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, “the downside is even though we are approaching another plateau, we are at a much higher level than in May.”

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by state Sen. José Rodríguez of El Paso, Texas. It first appeared in the senator’s e-newsletter. He is pictured in the main photo accompanying the guest column.

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