EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — City leaders are brainstorming further options when it comes to preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the community, and urges the City to be more aggressive when it comes to practicing social distancing.
City health officials said there are now three presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in El Paso.
However, City Council members said while thinking of ways to prevent the spread, they also want to help those facing economic hardships during this national emergency.
City leaders are planning to create an ordinance that would serve to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the Borderland and provide options for those who are affected. Some ideas council members opted to consider are paid sick leave, find funding to compensate businesses, prohibit evictions, and institute curfews.
“Right now we’re not recommending restrictions as a health department, other cities have other cities have not,” Robert Resendes, Director of El Paso’s Department of Public Health said, “The good thing about El Paso is that we have not had any local transmission yet so we can go about business as usual but I appreciate that council is getting ahead of this and getting ready to put these things in place so when we do have local transmission, we won’t be thinking about it after the fact.”
City health officials said its increased testing for the virus from 7 days a week, two times a day. They said the CDC gives the definite result between 3 to 5 working days.
City Rep. Cassandra Hernandez stated it’s not a matter of “if” the virus will spread in El Paso, but “when”. Hernandez urging the City to practice what it preaches in regards to avoiding mass gatherings.
“It’s here in our community. I think it mirrors that we take greater aggressive actions. Being next to my colleagues so close it’s making me feel very uncomfortable,” Hernandez said.
While the spread of COVID-19 continues, health officials urge those who are sick to be mindful of their symptoms and others.
“Don’t inundate the ER just because you think you might have this disease because there are people who actually might have the disease, shortness of breath and need to be hospitalized,” Resendes said, “We can’t use our limited resources on people who are curious or people who may be a little hypochondriac.”
Council is expected to have an “emergency meeting” during Tuesday’s regular council meeting, and will vote on the proposed ordinances.
Keep in mind the ordinances will only pass if council votes unanimously.