How Long Will COVID-19 Testing Continue In El Paso?
The City and County of El Paso put stay-at-home orders in place on March 24. At that time there were so many unknowns about COVID-19 but the one constant has been the need to test people to find out if they had the virus.
For weeks, El Pasoans have been able to get tested. At first, testing was only for people who were exhibiting specific symptoms and there were very few testing sites. As the weeks have gone by, more and more El Pasoans have been able to get the 6 inch cotton swab swirled around in their noses to find out if they had COVID-19.
The Governor of Texas said that the state would continue to test until June 12, but what happens after that? The three men who are guiding El Paso through this pandemic are the County Health Authority, Dr. Hector Ocaranza, County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, and Mayor Dee Margo. All three have been working together to keep us healthy and try to get our economy back on track.
I reached out to the Mayor's office and asked what will happen when June 12 rolls around. This is his statement:
“The Office of the Governor and the Texas Department of Emergency Management agreed to extend the testing in El Paso through June 12, and we are grateful for their support with this request,” said Mayor Dee Margo. “I will continue to work with Governor Abbott to ensure we have the necessary resources to address the public health needs of our community, as he reopens the Texas economy.”
The Mayor's office also said he will ask the Governor for continued testing for as long as it is needed to address public health needs. His office said he, Dr. Ocaranza, and the County Judge work closely together to coordinate the handling of the pandemic.
I also reached out to the County Judge's office. Here is his statement:
“In addition to the testing scheduled from June 3rd-June 12th , the State will be extending testing until June 22nd and there is a possibility that testing will be extended even further. The State is working with our City-County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and our Emergency Service District #2 to coordinate dates and locations. Both the County and the City are doing everything possible to continue, as well as increase testing in El Paso County by working with schools, Walmart, UTEP, UMC and other community partners. Our goal was to test at least 5% of El Paso’s population by the end of June and we are definitely going to exceed that goal as we have already tested 4.5% of the population.”
The County Judge's office also said "We will know if testing is extended even further around June 22nd."
The important thing to remember is that even though the economy is opening back up, COVID-19 isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Face coverings, social distancing, and hand washing help protect you and those around you.