- Associated Press - Thursday, October 22, 2020

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas is sending more medical reinforcements to the El Paso area in response to the region’s surge of coronavirus cases and the illness the virus causes, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday.

The Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas Division of Emergency Management will send more medical personnel and equipment this week to address the surge of COVID-19 cases.

The health department will send more than 460 medical personnel to the region. The agencies will also send a Texas Emergency Medical Task Force ambulance bus, medical incident support team, five ambulances and mobile medical unit to assist first responders. Additionally, the health department plans to send 48 patient monitors, 25 medical beds and 30 oxygen concentrators to support area hospitals.

The new surge is atop the previous deployment of medical personnel and personal protective equipment sent last week and will more than double the number of personnel sent to address the COVID-19 surge in El Paso, according to a statement.

“The State of Texas will continue to work with local officials to protect public health and help the El Paso community mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Abbott said.



El Paso County’s 3,750 new coronavirus cases this week, including 1,161 on Thursday alone, account for 17.5% of the 21,321 reported this week by all of the state’s 254 counties. Active COVID-19 cases there soared by 864 cases Thursday to 9,569. The 558 confirmed COVID-19 patients hospitalized in El Paso, Culberson and Hudspeth counties account for more than one-third of all of that region’s hospitalized patients.

Meanwhile, Texas reported 5,917 new cases, the most since Aug. 25, and the addition of 464 unreported cases from previous days brought the Thursday increase to 6,381 cases. Of the 838,809 total cases since the outbreak began in early March, an estimated 85,618 cases are now active, the most since Aug. 31. Also on Thursday, 4,931 cases required hospitalization, the most since Aug. 24.

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 85 new COVID-19 deaths raised the state’s death toll for the outbreak to 17,286.

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.

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