The 96th Medical Group’s Staff Sgt. Stephanie Laubach, a medical technician and Maj. Nicole Tafuri, a resident physician, laugh with a young patient during a car-side exam at the hospital’s new drive-through health screening March 30 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Since beginning the new procedure, the staff average 30 to 40 patients daily and can handle 64. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)

Note: This has been updated with Monday’s numbers from the El Paso Department of Public Health.

COVID-19 infections are three times higher in the hardest hit areas of El Paso compared to those with relatively few cases, an El Paso Matters analysis of public health data shows. Areas of Northeast, Central and East El Paso have the highest rates.

El Paso public health officials have been providing a daily map of positive test results by ZIP code. But that map can be misleading because it doesn’t take into account the widely different population numbers in each ZIP code. The county’s most-populous ZIP code — 79936 — has almost 115,000 people. The smallest — 79853 — has fewer than 4,500.

El Paso Matters looked at the number of positive COVID-19 tests per 10,000 people in each ZIP code. These numbers don’t include Fort Bliss because the Army is tracking cases separately and not making public that information, based on a Defense Department directive.

City officials say numbers for individual ZIP codes may decline from day to day as a result of data cleanup.

In the map, higher rates result in darker shading of the ZIP code. Hover over a ZIP code for more detail.

Hardest-hit areas

Countywide, the COVID-19 infection rate was 3.58 cases per 10,000 people as of April 12. Only two ZIP codes — 79901 Downtown and 79836 in the Lower Valley — have not yet reported a COVID-19 infection.

Among ZIP codes with more than 15,000 people, the highest infection rates currently are in 79934 in Northeast El Paso (5.93 cases per 10,000 people); 79905 in Central El Paso (6.15 cases per 10,000 people); and 79935 in East El Paso (7.35 cases per 10,000 people). Many of the cases in 79905 appear to be linked to an outbreak at the El Paso Psychiatric Center, El Paso Matters reported on Friday.

The lowest infection rates in ZIP codes with more than 15,000 people were in 79902 in West-Central (1.40 cases per 10,000 people and 79849 in the Lower Valley (1.94 cases per 10,000 people).

The two largest East El Paso ZIP codes — 79936 and 79938 — have seen a significant rise in reported cases over the past week. The infection rate in 79936 was was 4.27 per 10,000 people as of Monday; in 79938 it had reached 4.69 per 10,000.

El Paso Matters will update the data and map after each daily report from the Department of Public Health.

Correction: An earlier version of this story had an incorrect population figure for ZIP code 79930. It has more than 26,000 residents.

Robert Moore is the founder and CEO of El Paso Matters. He has been a journalist in the Texas Borderlands since 1986.