EL PASO COUNTY (KXRM) — A second person has died in El Paso County, after becoming infected with COVID-19.
El Paso Coroner Dr. Leon Kelly provided an update Thursday morning to the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners. He introduced himself as Deputy Medical Director, and a representative of the Health Department.
Dr. Kelly said, although the numbers could quickly change, as of Thursday morning El Paso County had 11 positive COVID-19 cases.
“Of those 11, unfortunately, I am here to report our second death,” Kelly said. He described the patient as a man in his mid-60s who had been in direct contact with the county’s first death.
“We continue to investigate the ramifications and the effects of that,” Kelly said of the woman, in her 80s, who died last week.
Kelly also made a clarification regarding the number of COVID-19 cases the county, and even the state, has confirmed. “The laboratoy confirmed cases represents a very small percentage of what’s actually out there,” he said.
A disparity in the numbers makes sense he says, considering once someone is infected it can take up to 14 days for them to present with symptoms of the disease. Then, he said, some people who experience symptoms won’t seek medical treatment, or they’ll seek medical treatment and never be tested for COVID-19. When patients do go in for official testing, he said, in many cases they’re waiting up to a week to find out results.
“We cannot continue to wait on that test to decide what our actions are going to be,” Kelly said. “There’s just too much time.”
Kelly said from now on, instead of waiting on test results to make decisions, the county will treat patients as “suspected positives”, if they have symptoms and were in a situation where they may have had contact with another infected person.
This article will be updated.