EL PASO, Texas -- ABC-7 has learned that the City of El Paso does not have the capability of testing for the Delta variant of Covid-19, which is the dominant strain in the U.S.
"We do not have the capacity to test locally at our lab but our laboratory response network partners, where our testing is conducted, has a large network of laboratories with variant testing capability for our city," the city said in a statement to ABC-7 on Thursday.
ABC-7 also asked if those other laboratories were actually testing all positive cases in El Paso to detect the Delta variant, and the city responded by saying that "the CDC has a program with national laboratory chains to randomly test based on qualifying indicators. This is the case for all variants."
"Also, if any hospital asks us to conduct variant testing, we will do so at their request, upon demand. Again, we've been testing for all the variants," the statement said.
For weeks, city officials have said the Delta variant of the coronavirus has not been detected in El Paso.
El Paso City/County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza told ABC-7 that it's just a matter of time before that variant is found here in the Borderland, but he stressed local samples are being tested for it.
"Just because our Department of Public Health laboratory cannot do the genetic sequencing doesn't mean that we're not sending samples out. We continue to send samples via the state, we continue to have samples being surveilled by the CDC," Ocaranza said.
He added, "the testing is being done, even though it's not done locally, but samples have been sent from our community."