EL PASO, Texas – El Paso Children’s Hospital confirmed Saturday that it was treating two young patients who have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.
While EPCH didn't identify the ages of the two children, city health officials have indicated there are two kids under the age of 12 who are among the 96 El Pasoans infected.
The two young patients are also among at least 19 people hospitalized across the city due to the virus.
A hospital spokeswoman said the two child cases were unrelated, but added that each came to the emergency room earlier this week with fevers. Both had previous underlying medical conditions, she said.
The children were immediately isolated and the screening process began, spokeswoman Audrey Garcia said, with positive test results for the virus returned on Friday.
Medical staff who had prior close contact with one of the children will undergo precautionary screening, she added, noting that the pair had no contact with an EPCH employee who recently tested positive from what's believed to be travel-related exposure.
"It is important to reiterate to the public that we are not a testing facility," Garcia emphasized. "Please do not come to the emergency room unless your child is in need of emergency care."
How the two children contracted the virus was not immediately known publicly. But City/County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza has indicated in recent days that "community spread" is the likely cause of many of the new cases that have emerged.
And Ocaranza has indicated that those with underlying health issues - like hospital officials say these two young children have - are at significant risk as the virus continues to spread in the community.
“Social distancing is the best way to slow down the rate of transmission of the virus, thus protecting our most vulnerable love ones," Ocaranza said Friday night in announcing that El Paso was approaching 100 cases.