JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) — Juarez is reporting a huge spike in COVID-19 deaths today, but health officials say it’s not time to panic.
On paper, the number of deaths jumped from 80 on Monday to 97 on Tuesday in Juarez and from 98 to 118 in the state of Chihuahua. Many of the new fatalities, though, had to do with suspicious atypical pneumonia deaths from three or four days ago being reclassified as a result of COVID-19 tests coming back positive, said Dr. Arturo Valenzuela, head of the Chihuahua state Health Department in Juarez.
“It’s not that 20 people died (today). When we have had suspicious deaths and when we get the tests back, we reclassify them,” he said. Still, he admitted that the city of Juarez and the state of Chihuahua remain at the height of the contagion.
“We are on the most critical weeks of phase 3 of the pandemic. These weeks of May are critically important for us. It’s important people continue to take precautions,” he said. “Don’t go out. Don’t go to El Paso just because the stores are opening. We went into this one month after it hit (the United States). We are yet to flatten the curve. We won’t hit the peak of the epidemic for several days still.”
Juarez has recorded 418 COVID-19 cases through May 5 — way below the 1,029 El Paso, Texas had reported on Monday. Mexican officials admit they probably have more cases but they haven’t detected them because of insufficient testing.
The state of Chihuahua, which borders both Texas and New Mexico, has 653 COVID-19 cases and 118 fatalities.