As covid-19 cases continue to soar in El Paso, a local El Paso county judge, Ricardo Samaniego has ordered the full-shutdown of the city. This is almost immediately following his city-wide curfew from 10pm to 5am that he ordered on Sunday, October 23, 2020. There is much contention that the full-shutdown order is not within the judge’s authority to order and in direct conflict with Governor Abbots current standing orders.
An El Paso Fire Department whistleblower stepped forward to tell KFOX14 reporters that (they) are picking up covid-19 victims from Juarez every day from El Paso’s international bridges. “There’s somedays where it’s only three or four times and other days when it will be 13 or 14 responses. You’ll be there for one patient and [CBP] customs will let you know, hey there’s another one right behind them and another one sometime there are four or five waiting in line,” said the anonymous source. (KFOX14)
Neither the mayor or Samaniego have commented on the impact of these foreign patients on the city’s resources, nor have they addressed why there has not been an order to close the border or to order El Paso EMT’s to deny ambulatory services to the foreigners. This also raises the question on how many cases on El Paso are actually due to the passage of Mexican citizens into the U.S. via El Paso’s international bridges.
KFOX14 reports that their anchor, Erika Castillo, was on location at the Stanton Bridge in downtown El Paso when she witnessed an El Paso firetruck pick up a person from Ciudad Juarez and then crossed back to El Paso to send the person to the nearest hospital.
“I don’t want this to sound the wrong way because our job is to help people. That’s why we do our job. That’s why you leave your families to protect people. At the same time, we took an oath to protect the citizens and the city of El Paso. And multiple times in this pandemic we will be in a complete system overload where there are no rescues available. There are no ambulances available,” said the anonymous source. (KFOX14)
Only El Paso’s EMT’s are legally allowed to pick up and transport patients from Cd. Juarez at the international bridges. Private companies and persons are legally restricted from doing so. This puts a definite and measurable strain on our local resources which are reported to now be operating beyond full capacity.
The judge (Samaniego) stated that as of Thursday, October 29, 2020 that 44 percent of El Paso’s covid-19 cases in the county are hospitalized. Several facilities have built outdoor tents to accommodate more patients, and the city of El Paso has set up a field hospital at the El Paso Convention Center.
The Intel interviewed a local Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist at “El Paso Day Surgery” who asserts that the impact of the increasing covid-19 cases are also affecting the availability of resources for elective surgeries, with her colleagues working in hospital settings claiming massive shortages and overallocations in the emergency rooms. “These are all El Paso resident tax dollars at work. Yet the economy is being asked to come to another complete shut-down, while city and county officials do nothing to free up resources by what may actually be ‘the lowest hanging fruit’. We need to think about taking care of ourselves first. This is a basic tenet in medical practice. If you are ignoring your own well being, you are actually putting those who you care for at risk. This is what is occurring right now in our city.”
The Intel’s concern is also that the same residents that are paying for these services that are being doled out in a cavalier, uncontrolled and unregulated manner are also being asked to sacrifice their incomes in the process. It is likely that many small businesses who managed to survive the first shutdown, will not survive the next.