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El Paso County reported 74 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, the highest daily count yet and a possible ominous sign that many El Pasoans relaxed compliance with social distancing orders over Easter.
The county has recorded 780 COVID-19 cases since March 13. The county’s growth rate of new cases had been on the decline for two weeks before Saturday’s sharp rise.
Two more COVID-19 deaths were reported Saturday, bringing the county’s total to 12.
“The public must remember there is no vaccine for this disease; which is why we continue to stress that each person must take responsibility and follow the local directive,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, the city-county health authority. “Everyone should strictly adhere to the directive by staying home and not go out unless it is for essential purposes. If you must go out wear a face covering and continue to wash your hands often with soap and water.”
El Paso officials had repeatedly expressed concerns that El Paso’s compliance with the “Stay Home, Work Safe” order would weaken over Easter as families held traditional gatherings for the holiday.
Sunday marks 14 days since Easter, the incubation period for COVID-19. Lab results of COVID-19 tests often take three to five days to come back, so the full impact of any Easter breakdown may not be known until the end of next week.