COVID-19 cases overwhelm El Paso, two week shutdown ordered

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Officials in El Paso County have ordered a two week shutdown of non- essential services

Everyone who lives within the County have been ordered to stay home unless they are working in an essential job or accessing essential services.

The order means no indoor dining, nail and hair salons, gyms and more must close.

The county is so overwhelmed with Covid 19 patients that some are being sent from local hostpials to other areas. County judge Ricardo A. Samaniego says "our hospitals are at capacity. Our medical professionals are overwhelmed and if we don't respond we will see unprecedented levels of deaths."

Grocery and drug stores, health care services and more, including polling places, will remain open.

University Medical Center of El Paso CEO Jacob Cintron says at some point logically they'll will run out of space, .even after adding beds and medical tents. He say over half of the Covid positive people are under 30. "Yet, out of the 535 individuals who have lost their lives, in that age group it's only 11. So what really needs to change is behavior."

El Paso County reported 1,128 new coronavirus cases Thursday. There have been 585 deaths since the pandemic began.

Meanwhile. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton tweeted his office is exploring legal actions to counter the county judge's order.   Paxton wrote "El Paso County Judge Samaniego has no authority to shut down business in El Paso County. This is a direct violation of Gov. Abbot's executive order,"