COVID-19 testing in El Paso drops but officials anticipate surge following Thanksgiving

Texas

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Paso saw an all-time high of COVID-19 testing in a single week with 53,016 tests administered four weeks ago. However, each week after that has been a steady drop, according to health department data.

Deputy Chief and Office of Emergency Management Director Jorge Rodriguez said the Thanksgiving holiday weekend could have played a part in the drop last week, as only two sites were open on Thanksgiving.

Data shows last week only 30,326 tests were done.

“So take that into account when, I say the 30,000, had we had a typical average testing day it would probably be closer to 37,000,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez added the positivity rates are the true indicator of what’s the virus trend looks like even with a decline of testing.

When testing was at it’s highest of 53,016 in a single week, the positivity rate that week was at 25.27 percent. The following week, 48,028 tests for nearly 19 percent positivity rate, then 45,000 tests and a 16 percent rate.

During the week of Thanksgiving, the positivity rate dropped to 14 percent.

Officials said a surge in testing is usually expected after a holiday like in July after Independence Day.

“When we see a spike in demand in testing, that means there is a concern within the community of increased in exposure,” Rodriguez said.

El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego and El Paso Public Health Department Director Angela Mora urge El Pasoans to get tested or self-quarantine if they traveled or gathered over the holiday weekend.

“We’ve seen this situation before where people drop their guard and start thinking they don’t need to be tested,” Samaniego said.

The County Judge’s limited curfew, which he implemented a day before Thanksgiving to discourage from social gatherings, expired at 5 a.m. Monday morning.

“We’re going to get back on track for this testing for the next two to three weeks then I’m hoping not to tell people not to go to Christmas,” Samaniego said.

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