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Lower Valley assisted living facility accuses city of El Paso of ignoring virus outbreak

EL PASO, Texas -- The city of El Paso is denying claims made by employees of an assisted living facility in the Lower Valley who said their calls for help to battle an outbreak of the coronavirus are falling on deaf ears.

Employees of Villas Del Sol claim 911, the city's emergency number, is refusing to send personnel to the facility and transport residents who tested positive for Covid-19.

Workers also claim the city is delaying further testing of residents to determine just how widespread Covid-19 is in their facility.

Villas Del Sol workers said five patients and five employees have already tested positive for Covid-19. One of those is the director of the facility who tested positive and is at home in self quarantine.

Sylvia Porras reitereated what other employees have said: 911 is not sending anyone to pick up and transfer residents who show Covid-19 symptoms.

"We have residents that have symptoms of high temperature. And when we do activate 9-1-1, they're refusing to take the resident," she told ABC-7. "So we're stuck with residents that we're clueless if they have the Covid or not when we can't even get adequate testing down at our facility."

But El Paso Fire Chief Mario D'agostino, who is also the city's emergency management director, maintained Porras' claim is false.

"That is not true. If you just want a transport, just a ride, we do not just give rides," he explained. "If you have a medical emergency, we'll you transport you to the appropriate hospital."

The facility's management and staff are calling on the city to come out and test every resident there so they can get a true sense of how large the virus outbreak is.

While things are in limbo, numerous employees are now said to be quitting their jobs at the assisted living facility out of fear that they may contract the virus and pass it on to their families.

Coronavirus / Coronavirus Video / El Paso / News / Top Stories / Video

Saul Saenz

El Paso native Saul Saenz is a veteran reporter who also hosts ABC-7 Extra.



  1. Sadly stopping a contagion like Covid is near impossible. Best bet for the elderly is to get them intensive care. El Paso and the rest of the world think masks and social distancing is the answer. 4+ months and it hasn’t worked yet.

  2. Boy city government enjoying a nice 100k plus salaries sitting at home while everyone unemployed. Keep the city closed, get payed full taxpayer salaries! The city council employees need their salaries cut ASAP! Kvia needs a news article on who continues to get paid and how much. Transparency. KVIA get to work. I want to see who in the city who’s being paid by taxpayers continues to get paid and how much.

  3. I see in my neighborhood city paid employees home all day while I bust my ass. I’m talking about city lawyers, judges, council, etc! Who continues to get paid, how much?

  4. Also , a story on how much money school districts are saving. Decreased electricity/water/has , no cafeteria food, Minimal maintenance,etc. We continue to pay the same taxes! So where Il are the savings going? How about the police fleets? Are they getting paid?

  5. Bottom line: School districts will make money due to closure. City government will continue to drain funds while doing minimal work (an incentive).

  6. Follow up on all precinct and city judges. How much are they working? Do they continue to get the same pay? How about their benefits? All paid for I would say. They talk transparency so let’s see if KVIA will expose.

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