El Paso, in Texas (United States), is one of the cities where the most number of infections are occurring in the entire American country. The number of cases has grown by 242% in the last two months and, in addition, the strong hospital pressure and the accumulation of corpses in the local morgues are beginning to be noticed.
“El Paso is a reflection of the increase in cases in the United States”, collects the New York Times. In the city, near the border with Mexico, there are about 680,000 people. Currently, of the 61,964 people hospitalized throughout the country, 1.7%, 1,076, belong to El Paso. A truly large percentage considering the tiny proportion of the population compared to the rest of the country.
Coronavirus patients account for more than half of all hospitalizations in El Paso County. So much so that There are only 46 beds left in Intensive Care Units in a region that has suffered 77,977 infections and 876 deaths from coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic. The situation in Texas is not much better, since it recently became the first state to exceed one million infected. The deceased are more than 20,000.
Mobile morgues and prisoners at work
The large number of deaths has overwhelmed the county funeral services. So much so that 10 mobile morgues have been requested to be able to keep the bodies before handing them over to the families. The facilities, consisting of refrigerated trailers, have settled outside the El Paso coroner’s office, which has performed 150 autopsies in the last week.
So much is the overflow that the administration has been forced to look for personnel to carry out these works. The job has been voluntarily offered to inmates for misdemeanors inmates at local jails. Their role is to move the mortal remains to the mobile morgues and they charge two dollars per hour worked.
“If there are no staff, no one to help, and there are volunteers, even if they are prisoners, we have no other choice.”Explains County Judge Ricardo Samaniego to KFOXTV.
The epidemiological situation in El Paso needs, according to experts and health workers in the county, an urgent solution. “If measures are not taken now, the health system will not be able to withstand the influx of patients,” predicts Lizette Torres, a nurse at Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso.
Recently, Judge Samaniego himself issued an order on October 29 to close non-essential commercial establishments. But nevertheless, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and a group of restaurant owners sued the judge and managed to overturn the measure.
“It is unfortunate that Paxton tries to gloat instead of coming here to walk among corpses through the mobile morgues.”Samaniego laments.
Meanwhile, the governor of Texas, Republican Greg Abbott, has prevented the application of stronger measures in some cities such as Houston since the beginning of the pandemic. “We will not have a new lockdown in the state of Texas,” Abbott has sentenced.