EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Dozens of parents waited in a long line at the Don Haskins Recreation Center testing site Monday morning, waiting to get their children tested for COVID-19.

“We’re here to do a test again,” said Fernando Delgadillo, with his two sons in the car. He said his sons, one in middle school, the other in high school, started feeling sick after they received a call from their schools saying they were exposed to the virus at school.

“Every time that call comes in it’s nerve-wracking because we get told a student in their classroom has tested positive so now we got to test their symptoms and all that so we’re here to do a test again,” Delgadillo said.

An El Paso ISD spokesperson said the district is seeing a surge of illnesses.

“We’ve seen an increase in absences but we know that families have been impacted, employees impacted as well and we’re working with staff,” said Gustavo Reveles, spokesperson for EPISD.

According to EPISD’s COVID-19 dashboard, the district reports 974 active cases by Monday evening. The dashboard is updated every two hours. 293 staff cases were reported along with 681 students cases.

Ysleta ISD’s dashboard reports 634 cases, 491 of those are students.

At Socorro ISD, the dashboard reports over 700 cases combined between staff and students.

“We’ve seen an increase in staff out because of illnesses at this moment its nothing we can’t cover but we are keeping track,” Reveles said.

Jagdish Patel, a local pediatrician, told KTSM he’s seen a significant increase in children testing positive for COVID-19 in just the last week. He said most are in ages under five or those unvaccinated.

“The first thing you need to do is if you’re child is not vaccinated, get them vaccinated, there is a smaller line for vaccinations than a test,” Patel said.

He added, parents should keep children home from school if they are feeling sick, even if they haven’t tested for the virus.

“Don’t overwhelm the system,” said Patel. “If your child has not been exposed, and they’re unvaccinated, they don’t need to test, but if they are sick and have been exposed directly, chances are it’s COVID.”

Reveles said EPISD continues testing those students that are considered high-risk exposures when tests are available and urges parents to send children to school with a facemask.

“If your child is feeling sick please don’t send them to school,” said Reveles.

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