By JULIA JACOBO, ABC News
(EL PASO, Texas) — A recent surge in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in El Paso, Texas, has caused city officials to order a curfew for residents.
The curfew has been imposed for 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. to limit mobility in the community, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said at a press conference Sunday. For the next two weeks, citizens are required to stay home unless they are traveling to and from work or accessing essential services.
Only one person is permitted to access essential services at a time, and trick-or-treat activities on Halloween are not allowed, Samaniego said. Violators will be fined $250 for failing to wear a face mask and $500 for any other violations of the order.
El Paso County has had the fifth-highest number of positive cases in the state at more than 39,000, according to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Since Oct. 1, the county has seen a 160% increase in COVID-19 positivity rates and a 300% jump in hospitalizations.
Intensive care units at all area hospitals reached 100% capacity as of Saturday, Samaniego said. An overflow of ICU patients are being airlifted to other cities.
The county is working to find more morgue space, and funeral homes are prepping for an influx of bodies, Samaniego said.
The El Paso Convention And Performing Art Center is being turned into a hospital with 100 beds, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. The University Medical Center of El Paso is setting up tents outside to treat patients.
More than 862,000 cases and 17,500 fatalities have been reported in the state of Texas, according to the state health department. On Sunday, the daily count of new cases had hit nearly 3,800 and 48 fatalities.
Forty-two states and territories in the U.S. are experiencing an upward trajectory of new COVID-19 cases, according to an internal memo by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services obtained by ABC News.
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