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El Paso pediatrician sounds alarm about lack of social distancing

EL PASO, Texas-- Dr. Angelica Machorro took to Facebook to let out frustrations after she said some of her colleagues at a different office were exposed to two young patients who were at a party where someone tested positive for coronavirus.

Machorro said the family of the patients did not disclose this information until much later during their doctor's visit. She said her colleague is now worried that he may have to shut down his office and get himself and the staff tested.

Machorro and her practice was not exposed, but she felt it was important to get the message out there that patients need to be completely with their healthcare providers.

"If you are not being honest with what you have been doing in your life, there is a chance you can expose us because we do not have the N95 masks," Machorro said.

The pediatrician has had to split up how she treats her young patients at her practice. Healthy children who are there for a check-up are seen in the morning, and she examines unwell children in the afternoon to limit the risk of exposure.

Machorro understands El Paso is a family-based community and understands many folks may be feeling the strains of being apart. However, she wants everyone at home to know that being apart and practicing social distancing is the best thing you could do for your family.

"With our culture we depend greatly on our family members, and for some people, our family are our friends. We are all extremely stressed out right now and we want to be with them, but unfortunately we can't. People need to understand that we need to stay home and only interact with the people that live in your home," Machorro said.

The positive cases of Covid-19 in El Paso now stand at 46, with many of those now confirmed to be from community spread. The importance of social distancing is now more critical than ever.

“The stay at home order it has the primary purpose of promoting social distancing. Stay just with your family, don’t go to big gatherings at somebody else's house. By each of us taking responsibility, by staying home, we won’t overwhelm our health care services. And we will be going though this pandemic in the best possible way,” Dr. Hector Ocaranza with the El Paso City/County Health Authority said.

Ultimately practicing social distancing will only benefit the city in the long run; Dr. Machorro wants the community to know that the only way she can provide care for your children is by keeping her staff and herself healthy during this time.

“If you get yourself sick you may get these people that you love, your family members and your friends sick, and then you can expose people like the first-responders, the doctors and nurses, the medical assistants, the police officers - people that are out there that need to work. We need to remember we are all inter-connected and we need to do our part,” Machorro said.

The city says anyone who would like to report violations of social distancing guidelines can do so by dialing 3-1-1.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Dr. Machorro and her practice had been exposed to these patients.

Coronavirus Video / El Paso / News / Video

JC Navarrete

El Paso native JC Navarrete co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend newscasts and reports during the week.

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