EL PASO, Texas -- A teenage girl, identified as a UTEP student who traveled overseas, is the third confirmed case of coronavirus in El Paso County, health and university officials said Monday evening.
The El Paso Department of Public Health said this latest virus victim, who tested positive earlier Monday, is currently recovering at home.
UTEP officials said the infected student returned to El Paso on Saturday from her trip, but had not been back on campus.
The two previous individuals who tested positive were both men in their 40s, one who is hospitalized and the other under self-quarantine.
Authorities said they expect the number of cases in El Paso to continue to increase.
“As more El Pasoans begin to qualify for testing, we will begin to see more presumptive positive cases,” said Angela Mora, the city's interim Assistant Public Health Director. “While we wish we didn’t have more positives, it is a good sign that the system in place is working and that we are being effective in helping to prevent the spread of this disease.”
Health officials have set up a testing referral center that is available 24 hours a day by calling 2-1-1 and selecting option six.
Mora said the virus is spread primarily via coughs and sneezes of those already infected. She noted that about 80 percent of cases are mild and most people do not need hospitalization. However, she added that older adults and people with underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes are at a greater risk.