El Paso Sets Curfew After Running Out of ICU Beds for COVID Patients: ‘We Are in a Crisis Stage’

El Paso, Texas is in “crisis” after an overwhelming rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have crippled the city.

The city’s hospitals have run out of intensive care unit beds after COVID-19 hospitalizations rose by 200 percent in less than a month, officials said Sunday, to more than 800.

Residents will now be under a curfew between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in the hopes of reducing new cases of the virus, and those found violating the curfew could be fined $500, CBS News reported. People can also be fined for not wearing masks or social distancing in public.

“We are in crisis stage,” said El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego as he issued the stay-at-home order.

The city, which borders New Mexico and Mexico, is also urging residents to stay home for the next two weeks to slow the spread.

El Paso’s Department of Public Health reported that the city hit a record-breaking 1,443 new COVID-19 cases on Monday and hospitalizations increased to 853, another record. The city, which has a population of slightly over 680,000, currently has 12,179 known active cases of COVID-19, another record.

"If we continue on this trend, we risk detrimental effects to our entire health care system," Angela Mora, the city’s director of public health, said, according to NBC News. "For the sake of those hospitalized and the front line health care workers working tirelessly each day to care for them, we ask you to please stay home for two weeks and eliminate your interactions with those outside your household until we can flatten the curve."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the city will set up 50 hospital beds at their convention center and can add 50 more if needed. The state also sent 900 medical personnel to El Paso.

New cases of COVID-19 are once again on the rise in Texas, with the state seeing an average of 5,864 new infections each day on average as of Monday. The soaring numbers run counter to President Donald Trump’s claim at Thursday’s presidential debate that “there was a very big spike in Texas, it’s now gone.”

The U.S. as a whole is now well into a third wave of COVID-19 cases, with a record-breaking 85,085 new infections on Saturday, well above the country’s previous high of 75,687 from July 16. Around 20 states are seeing their highest case totals of the entire pandemic, particularly midwestern states like Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.

As of Monday, more than 8,702,600 Americans have tested positive for COVID-19, and at least 225,158 have died, according to The New York Times.

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