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El Paso officials confirm 3 new virus cases, doubling total infected to 6

El Paso city officials hold a briefing on coronavirus.
El Paso city officials hold a briefing on coronavirus.

EL PASO, Texas -- El Paso officials announced three additional positive tests for coronavirus in the county on Thursday, doubling the total number of confirmed cases to six.

The three new virus patients were identified as a woman in her late 60s, a girl in her late teens and a man in his 20s.

All of the six confirmed cases thus far are travel-related and not community spread, officials explained. Health authorities said they are following up with those who have been in close contact with the infected patients.

The travel involved was all domestic, with the exception of one patient - a UTEP student who was previously diagnosed after an overseas school trip, officials indicated. None of the cases occurred at Fort Bliss.

"We should not let our guard down," said Dr. Hector Ocaranza with the El Paso City/County Department of Public Health, who said more cases are expected as more testing occurs. Twelve tests were awaiting results on Thursday.

At the same time, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego emphasized that "this is not a time to panic." He urged people to utilize common-sense practices including social distancing, hand-washing, and staying at home if you feel sick.

Nearly 70 virus tests have been conducted thus far in El Paso, but Ocaranza noted that testing doesn't affect the treatment, which is generally self-quarantine at home. He emphasized that currently there is no cure, vaccine or treatment for the virus.

Ocaranza also noted that "more than 90 percent of those with signs and symptoms and risks have tested negative.”

Mayor Dee Margo said El Paso would soon begin mobile virus testing, but it would be limited for now to first-responders and medical providers.

The health department released details Thursday evening on the steps required to get tested. You can find those details by clicking here.

You can also view Thursday's entire news conference by city and county officials in the video player below.

Article Topic Follows: Health

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Jim Parker

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