Where do Texas, El Paso stand on COVID-19 testing?

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Coronavirus in El Paso: Where does county stand on COVID-19 testing?

El Paso reached a milestone when more than 100 people tested positive for the coronavirus last week, but without more widespread testing it remains hard to know how many people actually have the virus.

El Paso is struggling to get a handle on that number, because only a tiny portion of the county's 840,000 residents have been tested.

Across the country there have been reports of slow testing roll outs, testing kit shortages and delays in getting results.

"It's really impossible for the country to understand exactly where we are in terms of the curve, because we have a limited number of tests," U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso, said. "Until we begin to test the vast majority of the population, we won't have a clear idea."

El Paso doctors say more testing is still needed. Slowly health officials have moved away from limited testing for first responders, medical personnel and doctor referrals.

The test rationing, however, does place limits on widespread testing.

As of April 7, 600 people had been tested for COVID-19 by the Department of Public Health Lab.

Twenty-seven patients were hospitalized as of April 7. There have not been any reported deaths. Eighteen people are reported as having recovered from the virus.

Without more testing, El Paso residents are left with no choice but to flatten the curve of infections through social distancing measures. A lack of testing makes it difficult to identify and contain the coronavirus.

"(We're) still behind the curve but getting better," said Dr. Alison Days, president of the El Paso County Medical Society.

What we know about COVID-19 testing in El Paso

The city has one drive through testing site in operation. Residents drive up to the location where specimens are collected while they remain in their vehicles. The location of that site is confidential.

The site opened officially March 23 has the authority to collect up to 250 specimens a…
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