The entire country has been on pins and needles since the announcement of the spread of the coronavirus. El Paso health officials now say that they can test the public for coronavirus here in town.

The El Paso Department of Public Health is one of only 120 domestic laboratories in the Laboratory Response Network that is part of the Centers for Disease Control. There are still no cases of coronavirus in El Paso but being able to test locally instead of having to send tests to another city or state will help local officials identify and treat anyone who does have coronavirus in El Paso.

City officials say that it would be 72 hours before they could get test results if they had to ship them out to other labs. Being part of the Laboratory Response Network makes El Paso part of the integrated network of laboratories that can respond to bioterrorism, emerging infectious diseases, and other public health emergencies.

The laboratory manager says the El Paso facility has "the confidence of the CDC to be given immediate access to Emergency Use Authorization testing for the City of El Paso.”

Even though we are now part of that laboratory network, City officials say you need to continue to practice the 4 C’s:

COVER your cough and sneezes
CLEAN your hands often by practicing good handwashing techniques
CONTAIN the spread of disease by staying home if you are sick
CALL your health care provider if you are ill and experiencing flu-like symptoms with a high fever.

You can get any updated information of coronavirus in El Paso by clicking EPHealth.com and EPSalud.com.