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Some El Pasoans opt to go to New Mexico for easier virus testing

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico — Data shows that coronavirus cases continue rising in southwest New Mexico, but could that be because El Pasoans have been driving into Las Cruces to get tested?

"We are hearing increasing reports that a lot of people from Texas may be referred to Las Cruces to get their testing because it's so hard to get a test in El Paso," said Dr. David Scrase, the secretary of the New Mexico's Human Services Department.

El Paso has seen a significant spike in cases over the last few weeks, and up until appointment-free testing options were expanded on Wednesday, scheduling a test appointment was very challenging.

"There's an increase in the percentage of tests in Las Cruces of people who have a home address in Texas," Scrase told ABC affiliate KOAT.

The New Mexico Department of Health said while it provides testing for anyone who desires one - with or without symptoms - it said testing New Mexico residents ahead of others is its top priority.

The governor's office was asked if it would consider closing state borders because of the rise in cases from adjacent Texas.

"There is no mechanism to close state borders. We are a state, not a country," said  Nora Sackett, a spokesperson for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Coronavirus Video / El Paso / New Mexico / News / Video

KVIA ABC-7

ABC News

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