El Paso City and County officials held a press conference this afternoon to announce three more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our area. Officials said that the cases are not community spread. All six cases are travel-related instances of infection. But that doesn't mean that you can let your guard down. Here are some of the highlights of the press conference:

1. Do not go straight to ER if you have symptoms - You need to call first because that will help the medical staff stay safe. They can take precautions before you arrive so that they can keep themselves, you, as well as others safe.

2. If you need a doctor referral call 2-1-1 - Call 2-1-1 for any questions about COVID-19 in El Paso. They can help you get a doctor referral to determine if you need to be tested if you have symptoms. Choose Option 6 for COVID-19 help.

3. The Dept. of Health will conduct the test - Once you get your test, you will need to remain at home until you get clearance from your doctor or you test negative. Your doctor and the Health Dept. can help you through your testing.

4. Stay home - If you feel ill, stay home and monitor your symptoms. Make contact with a physician for directions on what to do and if you should be tested. If you can avoid going out, please do. If you need to go to the store or pharmacy, don't take the whole family. Have one person go shop to minimize exposure.

5. Social distancing doesn't mean isolation - Officials say use technology, exercise, eat right, and get fresh air. Officials are not suggesting complete isolation. You can go outside as long as you practice the 6 ft rule. Don't get any closer. Don't have more than 10 people in a room.

6. Wash your hands and cover your mouth - Hand sanitizer is good, but washing your hands often throughout the day is the thing that medical officials say is the best way to protect yourself and others. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze either by sneezing or coughing into the crook of your elbow or by using a tissue and then throwing it away.

7. Mental health help - There are 24/7 crisis services through the Emergence Health Network at 1601 Yandell in Central El Paso, or by calling (915)779-1800. The phone lines are manned 24/7 by operators who can provide mental health services.

Dr. Ocaranza of the El Paso Health Department says even though there hasn't been community spread of the virus yet, they are expecting to see more cases. We need to be diligent about social distancing, staying home if you can, and washing your hands and covering your cough and sneeze. Please help keep everyone safe.

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