With hospitals—and funeral homes—running out of room and coronavirus case numbers setting new records, the 840,000 people of El Paso County, Texas, are now under a curfew. Under a two-week curfew order issued by El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego Sunday evening, residents are required to remain at home between 10pm and 5am unless traveling to or from work or an essential service, including grocery stores, the El Paso Times reports. Violators could be fined $500. "We are in a crisis stage," said the judge, who is the county's top elected official, per the AP.
On Monday, the county reported a record 1,443 new cases. At least 853 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized, up from 786 on Sunday. Samaniego said hospitals are "stretched to the limit." but he opted for a curfew instead of a stay-at-home order to minimize the impact on businesses, CNN reports. "The curfew is enough to limit the economic consequences on local businesses by allowing the stores to stay open," he said. "We carefully thought about the economic impact if we were to impose a full stay-at-home order like we did at the beginning of this process." Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says 50 hospital beds will be set up in El Paso's convention center and another 50 could be added. (Read more coronavirus stories.)