EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The COVID-19 pandemic continues to claim lives on both sides of the border.

On Monday, El Paso health authorities disclosed 26 previously unreported fatalities, all involving patients with underlying health conditions who had died after testing positive for COVID-19 in previous weeks. That’s an increase of 98 deaths since the Jan. 3 report.

Nine of the 26 deaths involved breakthrough cases (the individuals were fully vaccinated) but the other 17 were not fully vaccinated. El Paso’s cumulative total of breakthrough deaths now stands at 111.

El Paso COVID-19 summaries as of Jan. 24, 2022 (City of El Paso)

In Juarez, Mexico, health authorities reported 53 new deaths between Jan. 14 and Jan. 23. Juarez remains under threat condition “orange,” with in-person classes at schools suspended and restricted occupancy enforced at stores, bars, restaurants, and other public gathering places.

Dr. Leticia Ruiz

Dr. Leticia Ruiz, head of preventive health services for the state of Chihuahua, on Monday attributed Juarez’s spike to “mobility issues,” meaning people are still going out and about despite government pleas to only leave home for essential activities such as work or grocery shopping.

She also said hospital occupancy remains high and is likely to increase as people with comorbidities such as hypertension and diabetes who got infected during public and family gatherings at Christmas and New Year’s Eve grow progressively worse.

“It’s very important for Juarez to take (preventive) measures to avoid further contagion,” she said in her daily broadcast. “Wear masks, isolate if you’re positive. Juarez needs to increase its efforts so we don’t continue to see so many cases.”

The two cities now have a combined 7,353 fatalities related to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.