El Paso County’s COVID-19 situation appears to have retreated to levels of late spring, before an explosion of new cases tripled the number of infections over the first eight weeks of summer.

Numbers of new cases and COVID-19 hospitalizations have been down sharply for two weeks.

It’s still hard to get a precise reading of our COVID-19 trends because data reporting failures by the Texas Department of State Health Services led to weeks of delays in reporting untold numbers of cases across Texas, including more than 1,100 in El Paso County. DSHS has not responded to requests from El Paso Matters for an explanation of the failure.

But overall trends make it clear that El Paso has seen significant improvement in recent weeks. Health officials are casting a wary eye to Labor Day weekend in two weeks, where large gatherings to celebrate the end of summer could trigger another wave of COVID-19 cases that could have impacts through the fall.

New COVID-19 cases

El Paso County reported 800 new COVID-19 infections over the past week, the first time since June 14-20 that fewer than 1,000 new cases were reported in a week.

El Paso health officials warn that the actual number of cases for the past nine weeks, including this past week, are subject to increases because of the state reporting errors.

Our dashboard keeps you up to date with COVID-19 trends in El Paso County, Doña Ana County, Texas and New Mexico.

Hospitalizations and ICU cases

The number of El Pasoans hospitalized because of COVID-19 dropped below 150 for the first time since June 29. The number of infections requiring intensive care dropped below 50 for the first time since June 25.

New COVID-19 death reports

The Department of Public Health reported 33 new COVID-19 deaths this past week, bringing the total to 390.

The totals represent deaths reported in the past week, not the number of people who died in that period. It sometimes takes the Department of Public Health weeks or months to conduct investigations that classify a death as tied to COVID-19. In addition to the 39X COVID-19 deaths reported to date, DPH reports that it is investigating 115 other deaths that might be caused by the novel coronavirus.

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