EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — The El Paso-Juarez region reported nearly 500 new coronavirus infections and 19 fatalities Wednesday.
El Paso County, Texas topped the 10,000-infection mark since the pandemic began with the 345 new cases reported on Wednesday. Its tally is up to 10,298 cases and 159 fatalities, including the two reported on Wednesday. The deaths include a woman in her 70s, and a man in his 80s.
Juarez, Mexico is reporting 17 new deaths and 144 additional cases, for a total of 592 fatalities and 3,399 cases so far.
Dr. Leticia Ruiz, coordinator for preventive health services for the state of Chihuahua, said the spike south of the border was brought about by increased social mobility.
“We knew this would happen,” she said. “It’s caused by an increase in mobility, […] I understand people’s perspective, they have to work to feed their families, but we need to respect the (social distancing) rules … because going back to ‘red’ would be catastrophic.”
Mexico is operating under a color-coded threat designation for COVID-19. Chihuahua is currently the only Mexican border state on “orange” threat designation, which allows non-essential businesses to operate at 50% capacity.
If infection rates continue to rise and hospital beds approach capacity, the state will be placed on threat level “red” and many businesses would have to close.