Five new cases of COVID-19 were reported Sunday, March 29, bringing the total number in El Paso County to 40. Even more alarming, El Paso public health authorities have confirmed community spread.

Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who officials are not sure how or where they became infected.

"As expected, we now have evidence of community spread," Dr. Hector Ocaranza, head of the El Paso City/County Health Authority, said in a statement. "For that reason, I am working with our community leaders to implement stricter orders that we are currently drafting and plan to implement very soon.”

The five new cases reported Sunday are four females and one male. Of the forty total positive cases in El Paso County, 26 are female and 14 male.

El Paso Mayor Dee Margo strongly urged El Pasoans to adhere to the Stay Home order implemented last week.

The directive states people should only travel to conduct essential business - like to the grocery store or pharmacy - and take part in social distancing when they do leave their home. Businesses not deemed essential must cease operations, or continue exclusively with employees telecommuting (working) from home.

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