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El Paso calls in 10 refrigerated morgue trailers amid surge in coronavirus deaths: reports

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At least 10 temporary refrigerated morgue trailers were called in by officials in El Paso, Texas, on Monday as the city grapples with a new wave of coronavirus deaths, according to reports. 

County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said that six morgue trailers had already been deployed as of Monday and four more were requested from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). They will be sent to local funeral homes amid demand for increased storage space. 

Samaniego said coronavirus deaths in El Paso County showed no signs of slowing down, El Paso's KFOX-TV reported.

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Jacob Newberry puts on new PPE at the COVID-19 state drive-thru testing location at UTEP in El Paso, Texas on Oct. 26, 2020.  (Briana Sanchez/The El Paso Times via AP, File)

“It doesn’t look good,” he said. “It may be as much as 20 per day, the next two to three weeks. There might be more and more an incline of deaths.”

At least 64,158 people were confirmed to have tested positive and more than 673 deaths have been reported in El Paso County since the beginning of the pandemic, according to public health data on Monday. The death toll was up from 605 reported fatalities on Nov. 2 and 557 deaths on Oct 19, data showed.

More than 1,050 people were hospitalized with the illness as of Monday, health officials said, including 304 people in intensive care units.

“Here we are going into almost a second week with very little evidence that we’re doing it properly,” Samaniego added, according to the station.

To help contain the virus surge in El Paso, Samaniego issued emergency shutdown and stay-at-home orders last month. The shutdown order was set to expire on Wednesday, but he said he was considering extending it, Reuters reported.

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“As a community we need to come together and decide as fellow El Pasoans, as part of this region, to make a determination for what El Paso needs at this time,” he said during a meeting of county commissioners. “I need to repeat and emphasize that a temporary order would be very effective so that we don’t have long-term impact on our economy.”

Texas currently has the most coronavirus cases out of any state in the U.S. As of late Monday, the state has recorded at least 997,675 confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 19,221 deaths from the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

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Pfizer, meanwhile, said that early results from its coronavirus vaccine suggest the shots may be a surprisingly robust 90% effective at preventing COVID-19, putting the company on track to apply later this month for emergency-use approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

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