EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The El Paso-Juarez border region surpassed 30,000 confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with both cities reporting a combined 238 new infections and 12 additional fatalities.
El Paso now has recorded 23,014 infections and 500 deaths since the pandemic began, while across the border Juarez, Mexico now reports 7,058 cases and 845 fatalities. Many of the deceased in both cities had underlying medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, health officials said.
Dr. Arturo Valenzuela, the ranking health official in Juarez, said the large number of people who come and go across the border has complicated efforts to bring the pandemic under control.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection in mid-March began enforcing non-essential travel restrictions that have kept most Mexican residents from crossing the border. However, thousands of Americans and immigrants who are legal permanent residents are still allowed to return home even if they went to Mexico for non-essential reasons, such as visiting family or shopping.
CBP has tried to crack down on non-essential travel, but most U.S. residents are still not abiding by the restrictions.
“We have seen many more (COVID-19) cases in the United States due to higher mobility and a tendency to focus more on the economy than health,” Valenzuela said.
He said the pandemic has hit both cities hard and there’s no telling when it will wane.
“This pandemic is still keeping us off balance, it has shown a lot of unpredictability,” he said.