According to an El Paso Times article published on Monday, a new health mandate was issued for El Paso, Hudspeth, and Culberson Counties. A letter from Dr. John Hellerstedt, commissioner of the Department of State Health Services, informed county judges that the mandate went into effect Sunday. The mandate will remain in effect until that number drops to 15% or less for seven consecutive days.
Restaurants, retail shops, office buildings, manufacturing facilities, gyms and exercise facilities, classes, museums and libraries in the counties are required to return to maximum 50% occupancy levels.
Recently, Executive Order GA-32 was issued by Governor Greg Abbott, allowing certain venues to reopen at 75% capacity. Counties that reside in Trauma Service Areas (TSAs) with high COVID‑19 hospitalizations are excluded from these reopenings.
Trauma Service Area I (Culberson, El Paso, and Hudspeth Counties), for the last seven days, 15% or more of the total hospital capacity has been COVID-19 patients.
A county within a TSA with high hospitalizations may still reopen up to 75% and resume elective surgeries if the county meets attestation parameters established under GA-32. As of Wednesday, none of the counties in El Paso’s Trauma Service area had begun the attestation process.
The Van Horn Advocate reached out to Culberson County Judge Carlos Urias for comment but did not respond to the request as of press time.