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El Paso County working with school districts to expand virus testing

EL PASO, Texas -- As the battle over Covid-19 continues in the Borderland the need for more testing continues to be a talking point. Recently, the county of El Paso announced it had tested roughly 1.4% of the population, saying the goal was to reach 5% by the end of June.

"We know that a lot of the virus is spread by asymptomatic and we intend to get there, but until resources expand to that capability where we can do such a broad level and that is the goal to get that 5% and it’ll include asymptomatic," said El Paso Deputy Fire Chief Jorge Rodriguez, who also heads up the city/county Office of Emergency Management.

The need for testing has been a constant in the county even in the early stages of the outbreak of Covid-19, which is why El Paso leaders approached school districts.

"We have our nurses, our PD (police department), and we are ready to assist. What was the selling point is that it is for our district, we’ll be able to share it with our community and our essential staff," said Marivel Macias, an assistant superintendent for the Socorro Independent School District.

The OEM plans on using heat maps to find ideal locations to expand their testing, working side by side with school district officials.

"We are using heat maps to show us where the hotspots in the community are and we are going to be very strategic in the placement of teams if we have hotspots in a certain areas we’ll make sure to put them out appropriately," Rodriguez said.

So far, officials confirm six school districts have agreed to partner with the county. The OEM will be providing the personal protective equipment for district staff. County officials will also be working to train district nurses and professionals to administer the Covid-19 tests. Testing sites throughout the different districts should be operational within the next two weeks.

Coronavirus Video / El Paso / Health / 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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