This story has been updated to include data through Saturday, May 22.
As COVID-19 cases have decreased in El Paso, it has become a disease primarily affecting children and teens, an El Paso Matters analysis of public health data shows.
About 54% of new COVID-19 infections in the past two weeks in El Paso have been among people 19 and younger.
El Paso Children’s Hospital has seen an increase in children requiring COVID-19 treatment, with two to five admissions a day recently, a spokesperson said.
“The silver lining during this pandemic is that children have not been hospitalized at the same rate as adult patients. Recently, we have seen an increase in hospitalized teens at our facility, but they are not typically in need of critical care services,” spokesperson Audrey Garcia said. “Now that the vaccine has been approved for 12 years and older, we are encouraging vaccinations for all those who are eligible.”
State records show that just over 7,300 El Pasoans between the ages of 12 and 16 have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, about 15% of that population.
El Paso school districts said they haven’t seen an increase in absenteeism in recent weeks, but data from the Department of Public Health show that infections among teens generally have been growing this month.
City health officials didn’t respond to questions about whether any clusters of cases were seen in infections among teens.
Even with the recent increase in teen infections, their numbers are still below what El Paso teens experienced at the height of the pandemic.
El Paso teens have averaged 37 new COVID-19 cases a day in the past two weeks. In November, the average was 122 per day.
Cover photo: A teenager receives a shot in a clinical trial of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital)