Judge Ricardo Samaniego for El Paso County in Texas has ordered a curfew for the entire county as there has been a surge in coronavirus cases. The curfew has been set from 10 pm to 5 am and will last for two weeks. The county is seeing a 160% increase in case positivity and a 300% increase in hospitalizations since October 1. Samaniego said, “The purpose of the curfew is to limit mobility in the community. Currently our hosptials are stretched to capacity.”
El Paso county has exceeded 40,000 cases as 517 new cases were reported on Sunday; there have been 576 deaths in the county. Judge Samaniego said that the order was designed this way to limit the potential economic impacts and that businesses will be allowed to remain open. Texans could face a $250 fine for not wearing a mask and a $500 fine for violating the curfew. The judge said,
“The curfew is enough to limit the economic consequences on local businesses by allowing the stores to stay open. We carefully thought about the economic impact if we were to impose a full stay at home order like we did at the beginning of this process. We know the impact it would have for you not to be able to go to work. So we’re going to do everything possible to continue moving towards the balancing of the economy and making sure that we adhere to public health and everything that is required for us to continue our battle against his very insidious virus.”
Mayor of El Paso, Dee Margo, told CNN that they don’t think there is a specific isolated incident that is responsible for the case uptick, but did say they think the spike comes from the community becoming more relaxed. Margo is encouraging Texans to continue to wear their masks, social distance, and “avoid the family gatherings.”
According to CNN, Samaniego said that hospitals in the county have reach 100% capacity and that there are 180 people in ICU’s. The Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center says there have been 17,955 deaths from covid-19 in Texas.
Sources: Daily Caller, CNN, NPR; Photo-KVIA