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Commentary Coronavirus Featured

COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and vaccinations all drop in El Paso

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The number of new COVID-19 infections and cases requiring hospital treatment in El Paso dropped in the past week to levels not seen in seven months.

However, the number of El Pasoans getting vaccinated against the coronavirus plunged last week, a signal of the challenges that still lie ahead in fighting COVID-19.

Here’s our weekly COVID-19 data report.

New cases

El Paso had 918 newly reported COVID-19 cases in the past week, the lowest weekly number since Sept. 13-19. The number of new cases has declined 7% to 9% a week for each of the past three weeks.

About 37% of the new cases last week were in people age 19 and younger, and 57% of new cases were among people 29 and younger. That’s a reflection of the low vaccination rates among those groups. People younger than 16 can’t yet get vaccinated, and two-thirds of men and half of women age 16-29 had not received any COVID vaccine as of early last week.

In 2020, before vaccines were widely available, about 17% of COVID-19 cases in El Paso were among people 19 and younger and about 37% of infections were among people 16-29.

Hospitalizations

The number of El Pasoans requiring hospital treatment for COVID-19 dropped below 150 last week for the first time since mid-September.

Cases requiring treatment in intensive care units fluctuated between the mid-40s and mid-50s last week. That reflects a slow downward trend.

Deaths

El Paso is still experiencing about two COVID deaths per day.

Vaccinations

The number of El Pasoans getting their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine last week dropped by 29% from the prior week.

The number of vaccine first doses being sent by the state to El Paso County this week also will be down dramatically.

About 63% of eligible El Pasoans have received at least one vaccine dose, and 42% are considered fully vaccinated. Growing those percentages in the coming weeks will become increasingly difficult. Government, health care providers and others will have to develop new strategies to reach the unvaccinated, which are mostly young adults, particularly young men.

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Robert Moore

Robert Moore is the founder and CEO of El Paso Matters. He has been a journalist in the Texas Borderlands since 1986. His work has received a number of top journalism honors including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, Pulitzer Prize finalist and the Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year Award. Moore’s work has appeared in the Washington Post, Texas Monthly, ProPublica, National Public Radio, The Guardian and other publications. He has been featured as an expert on border issues by CNN, MSNBC, BBC, CBC and PBS.

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