EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — El Paso is reporting another record high for new coronavirus infections this Friday, just as tougher restrictions on businesses and public activity kick in.
The City-County Health Department said 838 additional COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the past day, shattering Thursday’s record of 717 new infections. A record 7,399 active cases also is being reported, and 112 patients are on intensive care, health officials said.
The situation is no better across the border, where Juarez, Mexico, reported a record 402 new COVID-19 cases and 22 deaths on Thursday. Friday’s numbers show another 198 new cases and 21 additional fatalities.
The two cities — whose downtown areas are separated only by the Rio Grande — have a combined 40,919 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,513 fatalities since the pandemic began.
Officials on both sides of the border attribute the massive rise in cases to “COVID-19 fatigue” — people being fed up with not being able to gather with friends and extended family and also not always wearing face masks.
El Paso Mayor Dee Margo responded to the crisis by ordering non-essential businesses to operate at 50% capacity only, restaurants to close at 9 p.m. except for takeout and delivery, and banning indoor sports and visits to nursing homes, among others. The restrictions kicked in this Friday.
Juarez last Monday rolled back public activity, closing bars, gyms, movie theaters, museums and also ordering businesses to operate at 50% capacity.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection continues to enforce non-essential international travel restrictions at the border.