• November 24, 2020
 El Paso-area Coronavirus Archive Stories from March 20th thru 24th

Corona virus | Graphic courtesy CDC

El Paso-area Coronavirus Archive Stories from March 20th thru 24th

This archive page of our El Paso-area Coronavirus Information has releases and information from March 20th thru 24th.

For the most recent health developments on COVID-19, please visit our up-to-the-minute page; for official info, click below.

Center for Disease Control (CDC)   |   World Health Organization    |    City of El Paso Department of Public Health

***ARCHIVE CONTENT FOLLOWS***

***Five additional cases of Coronavirus found in El Paso  (3/24/2020)

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) reported a total of 12 positive cases within the County of El Paso.

As the number of tests conducted by private laboratories increase, the City of El Paso will only report out El Paso County positive cases. This number will not include Fort Bliss cases.

The public is reminded that COVID-19 is not an airborne disease like measles. It is spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouth or nose of people who are nearby or possibly inhaled into the lungs.

Preliminary information about COVID-19 shows that about 80 percent of cases are mild and most people do not need hospitalization. However, older adults and people with underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes are at a greater risk of complications.

DPH officials continue to urge residents to follow prevention measures and stay up-to-date with the latest information by subscribing to both the City and DPH social media platforms, and to visit www.epstrong.org for updates.

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) COVID-19 hotline (915) 212-6843 or (915) 21-COVID is available for questions.  The hotline will be operational from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

2-1-1 Texas Call Center will focus on referrals to services for those impacted by business closures and unemployment.

***

***City offers drive thru COVID-19 Sample Collection to residents with Doctor’s Orders (3/24/2020)

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH), the Border Regional Advisory Council (BorderRAC), and other public health partners are collecting specimens to test for COVID-19.

Samples are being collected for first responders, healthcare workers, and patients with a doctor’s order. Only those members of the community who have met the testing criteria and obtained a doctor’s order for testing will be allowed entrance. The ordering doctor will schedule an appointment for the drive-thru collection site for the patient.

Local doctors and clinics that cannot collect specimens for testing have already begun to use this system.

“We are implementing a system so people who do not need emergency room care can be sampled and tested while not overwhelming the healthcare system,” said Wanda Helgesen, BorderRAC Executive Director.

To read the entire story, CLICK HERE.

***

***Two UTEP Employees Test Positive for COVID-19 (3/24/2020)

On Tuesday, March 24, two male employees of The University of Texas at El Paso tested positive for COVID-19. The employees traveled to an out-of-town event and returned to El Paso on Thursday, March 12.

Both employees are in self isolation and recovering at home.

Campus officials and support services are in contact by phone with the employees on a daily basis.

One of the employees had limited access into the Foster Stevens Basketball Center and the Larry K. Durham Sports Center on March 13. Both facilities have been isolated and have been cleaned regularly with disinfectant.

The following are recommendations to stay safe:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash immediately after use.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask

For the latest updates on the University’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, please visit UTEP’s coronavirus page.

***

*** YISD expands hours of drive-through meal service (3/24/2020)

In order to better serve our community during the weeks of school closure, the Ysleta Independent School District has expanded the hours of its drive-through meal service at 14 select campuses, where parents/guardians may pull up to the schools to receive meals for all eligible children under 18 who are present inside the vehicle.

Effective Wednesday, March 25, both breakfast and lunch meals for children will be distributed curbside to children inside vehicles that arrive between the expanded hours of 7:30 to 11 a.m. on weekdays at the following 14 campuses:

Capistrano Elementary School
Constance Hulbert Elementary School
Desertaire Elementary School
R.E.L. Washington Elementary School
Bel Air Middle School
Del Valle Middle School
Parkland Middle School
Bel Air High School
Del Valle High School
Eastwood High School
Hanks High School
Parkland High School
Riverside High School
Ysleta High School

In these first two days of the drive-through meal service, Ysleta ISD employees provided more than 13,000 breakfast and lunch meals at all 14 sites.

During the weeks of school closure, Ysleta ISD remains committed to assisting its families in accordance with city and county health officials and directives, and will continue to monitor all developments regarding COVID-19 as it relates to the Ysleta ISD community.

***

*** EPISD meal distribution continues through Stay Home, Work Safe rule (3/24/2020)

Meal preparation and distribution will continue thru the mandatory ‘Stay Home, Work Safe’ period here in El Paso.

“Families are allowed to leave their home to pick up meals and then head back home to eat them,” EPISD officials shared. “Meals are passed out from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with our employees are practicing social distancing to make sure they’re as safe as possible.”

***

***EPISD to pay subs, temps during school closures (3/24/2020)

The El Paso Independent School District approved new guidelines that will allow payments to be made to substitute teachers and temporary employees during the COVID-19 related school closures.

Trustees on Tuesday approved a resolution drafted by the administration that will give substitutes and temporary employees who have worked with the District since at least Jan. 1, 2020 some compensation.

“We are happy to be able to provide this peace of mind for our subs and temporary employees during these uncertain times,” said Superintendent Juan E. Cabrera. “As one of the largest employers in the city, this move will have a positive impact on the financial
wellbeing of El Pasoans as they brace themselves against the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added. “We hope this bring some comfort and relief.”

EPISD policies already allowed the compensation of its salaried and hourly employees under emergency guidelines. However, payment to non-permanent employees like substitutes and temps required Board approval and administrative review.

Under the plan, substitutes and temps will receive twice-a-month compensation that average their earnings from EPISD in January and February in 15-day increments.

This payment option will be in place only during the time the District is closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

***

*** City, County officials announce mandatory ‘Stay Home -Work Safe’ order for area, goes into effect at 11:59P Tuesday EVENING

In an ongoing effort to suppress the spread of COVID-19, the City and the County of El Paso have issued a “Stay Home, Work Safe” Order for the area that will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, and be in effect until further notice.

El Paso City Mayor Dee Margo, El Paso County Judge Ricardo A. Samaniego and Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza announced Tuesday morning the details of the new joint City-County order.

The order, the most stringent measures local officials have taken so far to address the worldwide public health crisis, is directing the public to remain at their residence except to obtain essential services or engage in essential activities and work for essential business and government services.

“We must protect the health and safety of this community. We cannot wait until it is too late, so we must continue working to stay ahead of the wave of cases and help flatten the curve by suppression of this virus,” said El Paso Mayor Dee Margo. “It is very important that residents and businesses cooperate to make this effort as successful as possible to keep our community healthy.”

“We are committed to keeping this community safe and healthy. While the effort is aggressive, there is no question that it will be effective in limiting COVID-19 exposure to the public,” said County Judge Ricardo A. Samaniego. “We all must realize that our actions and inactions could have a lasting effect on the entire the community, this order will help ensure positive outcomes for the health of El Paso.”

The order applies to everyone in El Paso County to work safe and stay home with the exceptions of essential businesses and activities; to include but not limited to emergency personnel, healthcare personnel, groceries, financial, critical trades, postal services, food delivery or pick-up, home-based care, childcare, and those performing essential government functions.

The order will continue until further notice and those who are found violating it could face a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or be jailed for up to 180 days. To report non-compliance, please email COVIDCompliance@elpasotexas.gov.

For more information, visit www.EPStrong.orgRead the complete order below.  [pdf-embedder url=”https://elpasoheraldpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Stay-Home-Work-Safe-Order.pdf” title=”Stay Home, Work Safe Order”]

***

***  UTEP issues letter regarding remote work for Student Employees (3/24/2020)

Miner Student Employees & Supervisors,

Due to ongoing developments with COVID-19 and changes in UTEP campus operations, a number of you likely have questions about how student workers will be affected, especially those who depend on university paychecks to cover their college expenses.

The health and well-being of our Miner community and the academic progress of our students are our top concerns, and we recognize that financial stability is an important element of student success.

As UTEP transitions to a remote workforce, we want to provide our student workers as much flexibility as possible to continue working. To that end, both student employees and supervisors should follow these guidelines:

  • Supervisors should enable student employees for remote work, exercising their full ability to flexibly identify activities, tasks and mechanisms for that work. We have provided some useful resources to help supervisors consider and develop various alternatives that are suitable for work assignments during the remote working period.
  • When working remotely, the student must have a Temporary Remote Work Agreement Form on file with their supervisor. This form can be found on the UTEP Temporary Remote Work Policy webpage.
  • To cover any gaps regarding their remote work options, student employees are empowered to work on their professional development. The Office of Human Resources has compiled a list of Online Professional Development Resources that can be accessed anytime from anywhere.

For students who have not yet done so, please contact your supervisor regarding your work assignment, completing your Temporary Remote Work Agreement, and with any questions you may have.  Thank you for your patience during this unprecedented time.

Best,

Mark McGurk
Vice President for Business Affairs

***

*** Planning and Inspections Notice City Departments Take Precautions Amid Coronavirus Concerns (3/24/2020)

In light of the “Stay Home, Work Safe” Order the Planning and Inspections Department, is taking a series of measures to protect employees and customers.

The department is temporarily limiting in-person interactions with customers to minimize the spread of the highly contagious disease.  Effective immediately the One-Stop Shop will temporarily close to walk-in customers.

Staff will continue to be available to receive and return calls, make appointments, and respond to emails. All contractor registrations expiring between now and April 30, 2020 will be automatically extended without penalty, provided bond and general liability documentation or up-to-date or are submitted via email.

Planning and Inspections will be accepting and processing applications and other development related documents by email and/or regular mail or electronic submittal. Meetings will be conducted via conference calls and/or webex/skype.

Customers are encouraged to visit the website to pay online or submit plans, or to learn how to use these online services. Customers may also use the Build El Paso Inspection App, available for iOS or Android users, or IVR to schedule inspections by calling (915)-313-6100.

***

*** Environmental Services Department COVID-19 Related Service Changes (3/24/2020)

Effective immediately, the City of El Paso Environmental Services Department (ESD) will only pickup household waste placed inside gray bins on collection days.

Previously for a small fee the department allowed customers to dispose of extra household trash by bagging the extra waste and placing the bagged waste on the curb next to their gray bins on their collection day.

To protect ESD drivers and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, the department is no longer allowing drivers to exit their vehicles to collect the extra, bagged trash placed on the curb.

CUSTOMERS SHOULD AVOID PLACING EXTRA BAGGED TRASH ON THE CURB. ONLY TRASH PLACED INSIDE A GRAY TRASH BIN WILL BE COLLECTED.

ESD reminds customers that all trash placed inside gray trash bins should bagged to prevent the waste from falling out of the bin.

For more information, please go online.

***

***TTUHSC El Paso Student with COVID-19 Self-Isolating  (3/24/2020)

We’ve been informed that a Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso student has contracted coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) while traveling in California. The student has been self-isolating in El Paso and has not been on the TTUHSC El Paso campus or in any affiliated clinics since their return to El Paso.

TTUHSC El Paso leadership is in direct communication with the student to help them through this challenging time. Our top priority remains focused on the safety and security of our campus community.

We encourage everyone to engage in proper sanitary practices such as frequently washing their hands, and cleaning surfaces in which they come into frequent contact. We also encourage everyone to practice smart social-distancing practices, such as maintaining a six-foot distance between individuals and avoiding large gatherings.

The El Paso Department of Public Health is also communicating with our student and the people they were in contact with.

For more information about TTUHSC El Paso’s response to COVID-19, click here.

***

***City Offers New Hotline to Field COVID-19 Questions (3/24/2020)

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) is now offering information about COVID-19 via (915) 212-6843 or (915) 21-COVID.

The hotline will be operational effective immediately from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

This new system will allow the 2-1-1 Texas call center to focus on referrals to services for those impacted by business closures and unemployment.

“This new hotline will be focused on answering questions about the disease itself and critical information regarding the COVID-19 impact to the members of our community,” said Ruth Castillo, DPH Preparedness Manager.

Local call takers will be up-to-date with information tailored to the El Paso Region. Callers will have the option to speak to someone in either English or Spanish and a language line is also available to translate more than 240 languages via this new number.

For more information, visit www.EPStrong.org.

***

***El Paso County Sheriff’s Office issues new guidelines regarding contact with citizens (3/24/2020)

In accordance with the Stay Home, Work Safe order by County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office will implement the following changes to limit Sheriff’s Office personnel/Citizen contact.

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY

Online Reporting

Calls for service received that are not “in progress” and do not require a Deputy to be on scene, will be referred to complete their reports online. Reports can be filed Online.

Fingerprinting

Members of the public who require fingerprints are asked to adhere to these hours and plan accordingly. Walk-ins for this purpose are no longer permitted.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (noon).
Location: 3850 Justice Dr., El Paso, TX 79938.

Office of Evidence and Property/ Abandoned Motor Vehicle Section

The Sheriff’s Office is requesting citizens to contact the Office via telephone when asking to retrieve any personal property currently in Sheriff’s Office possession. This would specifically be any property or vehicle that has been stored by the Sheriff’s Office for either evidence or safekeeping.

Members of the public are encouraged to contact the following numbers to make an appointment to retrieve their property and/or vehicle. Walk-ins for this purpose will not be permitted at this time.

Public Affairs – 3850 Justice Dr. El Paso, Texas 79938 – www.EPCSO.org 

El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Evidence and Property Section

The public should call 915-538-2283 to schedule an appointment.
The hours of retrieval are: Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Location: 3850 Justice Dr., El Paso, TX 79938.

El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Abandoned Motor Vehicle Section

The public should call 915-538-2007 to schedule an appointment.
The hours of retrieval are: Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Location: 12501 Montana Ave. Unit F., El Paso, TX 79938.

***

***2020 Spaceport America Cup Cancelled  (3/24/2020)

Spaceport America and the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA) have made the difficult decision to cancel the fourth annual Spaceport America Cup that was scheduled for June 16 – 20, 2020 at Spaceport America.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision was made based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for canceling large events in order to keep the students, spectators and sponsors safe and healthy. The event was set to engage over 1,700 college students from 17 countries on a week- long rocket design and launch competition.

“Having groups of students working together to build their team’s rocket is contrary to the COVID-19 protocol released by the CDC, and the State of New Mexico’s proactive leadership on this issue,” explained Dan Hicks, CEO of Spaceport America. “As much as we looked forward to having 154 universities participate, it is not the appropriate course of action at this time.”

“We are aware that this is incredibly disappointing news for the students, the universities, the communities of Sierra and Doña Ana Counties and our sponsors,” Hicks added. “It is important that the students respect and abide by their state and country guidelines for the health and safety of all.”

Last year, the 2019 Spaceport America Cup had 124 teams, 1,500 students, and representatives from 14 countries. The University of Washington took first place in the Spaceport America Cup, and the University of New Mexico won the inaugural Spaceport America Chile Cup.

Information on the 2021 Spaceport America Cup and possible actions with the 2020 Cup will be available at via this link.

***

***TTUHSC El Paso talks breaking the chain of infection: Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 (3/24/2020)

The main ways the public can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are at the personal level, said Armando Meza, M.D., chief of infectious diseases and associate academic dean of graduate medical education at the TTUHSC El Paso Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.

This includes hand washing, social distancing, self-quarantines and preparing your home for possible COVID-19 exposure.

One of the simplest ways people can help prevent the virus’ spread is by thoroughly washing their hands.

“If you’re going to wash your hands with soap and water, you can use regular soap and tap water,” Dr. Meza said. “You want to spend at least 20 seconds washing your hands and covering all the surfaces as much as possible. When you dry your hands, use a dry towel or paper towel, making sure that all surfaces are dry before you touch any object. It is important that once you have shut off the faucet, or anything on the sink, that you don’t touch those surfaces again, as they may be contaminated.”

Another way people can reduce the possibility of infection is through social distancing.

“Social distancing is the action government health departments take in asking the public to avoid exposure to an infectious agent,” Dr. Meza said. “That includes limiting activities that are not essential to our lives. We may be invited or given the opportunity to go places with a large gathering of people. If we avoid that, it would be very helpful.”

Self-quarantine measures will become necessary if a person has been exposed to someone infected with COVID-19. Self-quarantine is the voluntary isolation, usually at home, of a person after potential exposure to an infectious agent. An example is staying home after returning from a trip to a high-risk country classified as a Travel Warning Level 3 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“Two weeks is currently the recommended time to self-quarantine,” Dr. Meza said. “To stay in quarantine, essentials such as water, food and personal-care items should be available during this time period. In your home, stay away from any family members that may be at high risk for severe infection, such as the elderly or anyone with lung or heart disease.”

Dr. Meza emphasizes that preparedness on a personal level is key.

“Most importantly, stay educated on this condition by regularly reviewing reliable information found on the CDC website,” Dr. Meza said. “Avoid overstocking of supplies, since this will create a shortage crisis in the community. You should also keep your home clean, especially your kitchen and bathroom. Use of commercially available antimicrobial towels and sprays is appropriate.”

For more information on COVID-19, answers to frequently asked questions and helpful resources, visit TTUHSC El Paso’s COVID-19 website.

***

***Capstone Production’s Heritage Gold TV  series on El Paso history now available free, online. (3/24/2020)

Capstone Productions has announced that the Heritage Gold TV series has been released to the public for free viewing via the El Paso History TV YouTube page , providing a valuable educational and entertaining resource for children and adults during the coronavirus emergency.

“El Paso history is free on our YouTube channel, with more than 120 TV programs and segments about El Paso history,” said Jackson Polk, producer of the history segments. “We worked for two decades to produce our very popular DVDs about El Paso history that were sold in stores. Now is the time to make them available for home schooling and general viewing at no cost to the public.”

The free release of the TV documentaries will provide a fun, entertaining and educational way for El Pasoans to learn about their hometown’s rich history and cultural heritage, topics that are not generally taught in public schools. Most adults do not know about El Paso history, and this will be a time to join their children in learning about the amazing history of El Paso over the centuries.

PODCASTS FREE ONLINE

There is more history to access for free from the archives of “The El Paso History Radio Show” online at www.EPHistory.com .  The radio shows airs live each Saturday from 10 a.m.-noon on KTSM AM 690. The archived podcasts are free for listening, with a wide range of topics covering history in the El Paso area.

VIDEO PLAYLIST

Click here  for the video playlists.  Titles include “Legends of El Paso’s Mountains,” “El Paso’s Hueco Tanks,” “Gunfights of the Old West,” “Mexican Revolution Sites in El Paso,” for a dozen Heritage Gold titles online. There are also 16 “El Paso History TV” segments that were broadcast in El Paso.  More documentary programs will be announced every few days in the next six weeks.

RADIO SHOW PODCASTS

Go to www.EPHistory.com for the radio show archives.

***

***City: Coronavirus cases now at 10 (3/23/2020)

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) reported its seventh positive case for the County of El Paso. This latest case involves a woman in her 50s who has domestic travel history. She is currently self-isolating and recovering at home.

Three additional individuals were tested elsewhere, but reside in El Paso. The individuals are currently self-isolating and recovering at home bringing the total of El Paso residents with COVID-19 to ten people.

The Public Health Laboratory, which conducts tests for the region, has tested approximately 123 specimen as of Sunday, March 22.

The laboratory reported one positive test for a person residing in New Mexico, and has advised the New Mexico Department of Health. Fort Bliss conducts and declares its own tests for COVID-19.

The public is reminded that COVID-19 is not an airborne disease like measles. It is spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouth or nose of people who are nearby or possibly inhaled into the lungs.

Preliminary information about COVID-19 shows that about 80 percent of cases are mild and most people do not need hospitalization. However, older adults and people with underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes are at a greater risk of complications.

DPH officials continue to urge residents to follow prevention measures and stay up-to-date with the latest information by subscribing to both the City and DPH social media platforms, and to visit www.epstrong.org for updates.

Additionally the 2-1-1 Texas Call Center is available 24/7. Callers can dial 2-1-1 and select option six for more information.

***

***UTEP offers Computer Technology Financial Support (3/23/2020)

As you are already aware, beginning Monday, March 30, 2020, all courses for the spring semester will move to remote online delivery. We understand that this transition to online learning may be a burden for some students who do not have access to a computer at home. The following two programs may help.

  • If you are a student who received financial aid for either the fall 2019 or spring 2020 semester(s) and do not currently own a computer, there may be grant assistance to help you purchase a computer, internet hotspot, or tablet so that you can access your classes and course materials. Please email a request for this grant support to: studentfinancialaid@utep.edu. Be sure to include your full name, UTEP ID#, and a reliable phone number. We will contact you regarding your eligibility for grant assistance.
  • If you are not currently receiving financial aid, but still need assistance to purchase a computer, the Paydirt Emergency Loan Program is available to assist students. The maximum loan amount is $500. You can apply for this loan by emailinggchairez@utep.edu to request your personalized online application link.

All of us at UTEP remain committed to ensuring that every student finishes the semester without disrupting their educational progress. If you have any questions, please call the Office of Student Financial Aid at 915-747-5204.

***

***Workforce Solutions Borderplex Closes All Centers – Virtual Services Continue (3/23/2020)

In response to concerns of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Workforce Solutions Borderplex (WSB) announces that all job centers will be closing effective Tuesday, March 24th.

All centers will be closed to the public and resource rooms will no longer be available for internet, printing and computer access.

WSB is still eager to assist with case management and job assistance, but all support will be handled virtually.  For more information, please call 915-887-2600 or visit the WSB resource website for continuous updates online.

Jobseekers should register at Work in Texas by creating a profile and then searching and applying for jobs at www.WorkInTexas.com.

WSB offers a Workforce Guidance Video and Frequently Asked Questions download to assist those with questions. Click here to view the video or here to read the FAQ

***

***Local restaurateurs opens fund to assist food and beverage workers (3/23/2020)

Local food and beverage workers are among the first to be hurt by the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But help is coming thanks to a group of local restaurateurs.

“Restaurants, bars and coffee shops are inherently social places, so guidance from health authorities to limit exposure to crowds and to practice social distancing hit us all hard,” said Maggie Asfahani, who owns Salt + Honey Bakery Café in Five Points.

“We were already hurting, but the executive order that restaurants close their dining rooms forced many restaurants, including mine, to temporarily close and lay off the employees who are the backbone of our business.”

Asfahani is leading a group of local service industry volunteers who have established the El Paso Food and Beverage Workers Fund within the Paso del Norte Community Foundation.

The fund will provide direct relief to food and beverage workers who have been laid off or are working significantly reduced hours due to a temporary closure as a result of the pandemic.

To read the entire story, click here.  To donate, visit this website.

***

*** City of Socorro closes lobbies to the public (3/23/2020)

The City of Socorro in cooperation with Governor Abbott & County Judge Ricardo Samaniego to combat the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) will be closing all City Lobbies & Offices to the public beginning Wednesday, March 25, 2020, until further notice.

The Public may receive assistance Monday through Friday 8 AM – 5 PM through:

The Socorro Municipal Court has suspended all courts until further notice, and all citations may be paid:

• Credit/Debit: Over the phone at (915) 872-8574
• Money Orders (include your contact information with Name, Phone

Number Address, and Citation Number) mailed to:

Municipal Courts
860 N. Rio Vista
Socorro, TX 79927

PLEASE CONTINUE TO REPORT EMERGENCIES BY CALLING 9-1-1 During this time all essential City services will continue to be provided.

Lastly, the City would like to remind everyone to stay safe by following the guidelines set in place by our health authorities. https://www.dshs.texas.gov
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html

***

***NM Gov issues statewide ‘stay-at-home’ order to start Tuesday, March 24th at 8a (3/23/2020)

Monday afternoon, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that she issued an order that suspends operations of all businesses and non-profits that are deemed “non-essential.”  Below is the full order:

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday announced additional restrictions to disrupt the spread of the COVID-19 virus in New Mexico and instructed New Mexicans to remain in their homes or places of residence except for outings absolutely necessary for health, safety and welfare.

The order — to be issued by Secretary of Health Kathy Kunkel and effective 8 a.m. Tuesday, March 24 — closes all non-essential businesses, requiring 100 percent of the state’s non-essential workforce to work from home. As in other states that have enacted similar measures, there are exceptions pertaining to essential services for the preservation of health, safety and well-being.

“The only way for us to stop the spread of this virus is for New Mexicans to stop interacting with each other,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “New Mexicans must be crystal-clear on this point: Right now, every time you leave your house, you are putting yourself, your family and your community at risk. Only by distancing from one another, by remaining home except for essential or emergency travel, can we limit the spread of this virus to the point that it does not overwhelm New Mexico.

“This clearly exempts people who are part of the essential functions that must continue: The individuals providing meals for kids at our schools; the individuals working at health care facilities, child care facilities, public safety entities and many more. Those individuals are helping keep us operating — in a new and limited way. They deserve our profound gratitude.

“As we wait for the federal government to get states the help we need in expanding capacity and testing materials and financial assistance, staying home is the one action all of us, individually and as a group, can control,” the governor added. “Please stay home. Help protect New Mexico.”

Intended to aggressively limit person-to-person contact in the state, the amended emergency public health order closes all non-essential businesses except for remote work.

The order advises that New Mexicans “must stay at home and undertake only those outings absolutely necessary for their health, safety or welfare” and further restricts “mass gatherings” of five or more individuals in outdoor spaces.

“Does this order mean you cannot walk your dog? No. Does it mean you can’t go for a jog? No. But you should not do those things in a group — and you should be home as soon as possible,” the governor said. “This social isolation strategy will only work if we all undertake it to the greatest extent we can. That boils down to one thing: Stay home.”

Businesses deemed essential that may remain open are:

  • Health care operations including hospitals, walk-in-care health facilities, emergency veterinary and livestock services, pharmacies, medical wholesale and distribution, home health care workers or aides for the elderly, emergency dental facilities, nursing homes, residential health care facilities, research facilities, congregate care facilities, intermediate care facilities for those with intellectual or developmental disabilities, supportive living homes, home health care providers, and medical supplies and equipment manufacturers and providers;
  • Homeless shelters, food banks, and other services providing care to indigent or needy populations;
  • Childcare facilities necessary to provide services to those workers employed by essential businesses and essential non-profit entities;
  • Grocery stores, all food and beverage stores, supermarkets, food banks, farmers’ markets and vendors who sell food, convenience stores, and other businesses that generate the majority of their revenue from the sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet food, feed, and other animal supply stores, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products;
  • Farms, ranches, and other food cultivation, processing, or packaging operations;
  • All facilities used by law enforcement personnel, first responders, firefighters, emergency management personnel, dispatch operators, and court personnel.
  • Infrastructure operations including, but not limited to, public works construction; commercial and residential facility construction and maintenance; airport operations; public transportation; airlines; taxis; private transportation providers; water, sewer, trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal; gas; electrical; oil drilling; oil refining; natural resources extraction or mining operations; nuclear material research and enrichment; those attendant to the repair and construction of roads and highways; solid waste collection and removal; processing and disposal; data and internet providers; data centers; and telecommunications systems;
  • Manufacturing operations involved in food processing, manufacturing agents, chemicals, fertilizer, pharmaceuticals, sanitary products, household paper products, telecommunications, microelectronics/semi-conductor, primary metals manufacturers, machinery manufacturers, electrical equipment, appliance, and component manufacturers, and transportation equipment manufacturers;
  • Services necessary to maintain the safety and sanitation of residences or essential businesses including security services, custodial services, plumbers, electricians, and other skilled trades;
  • Media services including television, radio, and newspaper operations;
  • Gas stations, automobile repair facilities, and retailers who generate the majority of their revenue from the sale of automobile repair products;
  • Hardware stores;
  • Laundromats and dry cleaner services;
  • Utilities, including their contractors and suppliers, engaged in power generation, fuel supply and transmission, water and wastewater supply;
  • Funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries;
  • Banks, credit unions, insurance providers, payroll services, brokerage services, and investment management firms;
  • Real estate services including brokers, title companies, and related services.
  • Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes;
  • Laboratories and defense and national security-related operations supporting the United States government or a contractor to the United States government;
  • Restaurants, but only for delivery or carry out and local breweries or distilleries but only for carry out;
  • Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, but only where necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities; and
  • Logistics and businesses that store, ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences or retailers.

The order is in effect until April 10.  To view the news conference, click here.

***

***Sun Metro updates routes, boarding procedures (3/23/2020)

Effective Wednesday, March 25, 2020 Sun Metro will implement service modifications in response to COVID-19. The service modifications will remain in effect until further notice.

Service adjustments are as follows:

Fixed route service will operate on a Sunday schedule Monday through Saturday  with the addition of the following:

o   Routes 19, 43, 71, 73 will run on a Saturday schedule, Monday through Saturday.

o   Brio service (Mesa, Dyer, Alameda) will run on a Saturday schedule, Monday through Saturday.

o   Routes 3 and 42 will keep peak service hours, Monday through Friday.

o   Sunday service along with routes 83 and 84 will remain unchanged.

  • Fixed route service on Sundays will operate on a Sunday schedule with no additions.
  • Streetcar service is suspended until further notice.

In line with the practice of social distancing, the following changes have also been implemented:

o   All passengers will board and exit buses through the rear doors. Boarding exceptions will be made for riders who have accessibility needs and require the use of the drop-down ramps located at the front doors.

o   All passengers are encouraged to leave two empty seats between themselves and others.

In order to accommodate rear entry and exit only (excluding exceptions noted above), Sun Metro is waiving all bus fares on Fixed Route, BRIO and LIFT services until further notice.

For more information about Sun Metro, visit sunmetro.net or call (915) 212-3333. Like their page on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @SunMetro.

***

***Curbside Meal Distribution at Senior Centers to Continue for Qualifying Senior Residents (3/23/2020)

As part of a joint meal distribution initiative by the Parks and Recreation Department and El Paso County, curbside distribution of meals will continue every Tuesday, from 10 a.m. to noon, at all City Senior Centers for seniors enrolled in the El Paso County Senior Noontime Meal Program.

The County meal program is preparing and providing five pre-packaged meals consisting of pre-packed shelf and pre-cooked frozen meals.

The meals are only available to adults 60 years-of-age and older who are currently enrolled and active in the El Paso County Senior Noontime Meal program.

Volunteers and employees with the Parks and Recreation Department are helping the El Paso County team distribute the curbside meals. The curbside pickup offers a quick, drive through option to keep seniors and volunteers safely separated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All City Senior Centers remain closed until further notice.

The El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) continues to urge residents to follow prevention measures and stay up-to-date with the latest information by subscribing to both the City and DPH social media platforms, and to visit www.epstrong.org or call dial 2-1-1 and select option six for more information.

***

*** The El Paso Community Foundation and the Cardwell Foundation have made a grant to the USO El Paso to support soldiers in mandatory quarantine.

The $60,000 grant — from the Cardwell Foundation and the Julie and Jim Cardwell Fund in the El Paso Community Foundation — will help USO El Paso support troops being placed in  mandatory quarantine upon returning from Europe, some from high-risk areas.

The gift will pay for toiletries and hygiene products, such as soap and shaving cream, snacks and other needs for the returning troops.

To read entire story, click here.

***

*** Visitor Policy Update from EPCH, THOP, LPDSH and UMC  (3/23/2020)

Joint Statement Regarding No-Visitor Policy from El Paso Children’s Hospital, The Hospitals of Providence, Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare and University Medical Center of El Paso

In an effort to protect patients, physicians, staff and the community as COVID-19 continues to spread within our community, The Hospitals of Providence, Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare and University Medical Center of El Paso will implement a no-visitor policy in all hospitals, beginning Monday, March 23. Our priority is to reduce the transmission risk within our sites of care.

Exceptions for The Hospitals of Providence, Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare and University Medical Center of El Paso will be made for laboring and post-partum patients; patients with disabilities or impairments or who are elderly; patients in the neonatal ICU (NICU) and pediatric units; patients requiring surgery or other emergency or trauma-related medical procedures; and patients requiring end-of-life care. One caregiver 18 years or older may accompany these patient populations; the visitor must pass our previously established health-screening criteria upon entrance into the facility. No visitors will be allowed to wait in the lobby or waiting rooms.

El Paso Children’s Hospital and Providence Children’s Hospital are limited to one parent/legal guardian at a time. Rotation of a patient’s essential parent/legal guardian should be limited to minimize any potential risk. Again, everyone must pass previously established health-screening criteria before entering the facility. No additional visitors will be allowed to wait in the lobby or waiting rooms. Anyone entering the facility will be asked if they have symptoms of illness and exposure risks upon arrival. Those who have non-severe symptoms such as a fever or cough will be asked to not enter to stop the spread of illness and to seek care from their physician.

While we understand the importance of having the support of loved ones during a hospital visit or stay, we must prioritize the health and safety of our patients and caregivers during this unprecedented pandemic. We encourage support persons to use alternate methods of communication to stay in contact with loved ones, such as phone calls, video chats or texting.

We will continue to modify our response protocols as the needs within our community evolve.

Everyone should continue taking the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Avoid contact with sick people
  • Avoid large crowds
  • Practice social distancing

If you are concerned that you’ve been exposed or have a general question about COVID-19, contact the El Paso County Health Department by calling 211 and choosing option 6.

***

***UTEP President Heather Wilson release letter to college staff (3/23/2020)

Colleagues,

While I hope all of you took some time to recharge over the weekend, I’m sure many of you monitored the continued news about COVID-19.

There are over 200 counties in Texas that have no cases of COVID-19 and the Governor has not ordered a statewide shelter-in-place order. Dallas is in a very different situation, with a major international air travel hub and more than a third of all of the cases in Texas. Every community and University is different and the state is supporting local decision making based on the circumstances in each community.

Having talked to local officials on Sunday, there is no evidence of community spread in El Paso, and the public seems to be acting responsibly with respect to congregation and social distancing. The few currently identified cases were people who contracted the disease elsewhere and traveled here or reside in the same household with those who did. At the same time, we all know that there is skepticism because of delays in testing and receiving results from testing which justify continued measures to keep people at home if they don’t have to leave home.

Early prevention efforts are important, and the decisions to prohibit large gatherings, close bars, and encourage working remotely to the maximum extent possible are prudent.

We’ve canceled face-to-face classes this week to give faculty the time to shift to distance delivery of their courses. Even small class sections will be shifted to online format. For labs and performance courses, faculty are identifying creative ways that students might gain and demonstrate competencies without being together on campus.

Whether it is a work day or not, every employee should be observing social distancing guidance, washing your hands regularly, avoiding social situations with more than 10 people and avoiding crowds.

While faculty are used to working from home and can do so quite easily, it is not always so easy for staff. In some cases, our staff who are paid hourly are in jobs that might be almost impossible to shift to remote work. That is why I want us to make prudent decisions on a case-by-case basis and give supervisors and employees flexibility.

We continue to monitor the situation in El Paso County and take actions every day that make sense to protect the health of students, faculty and staff and help reduce any impact on our healthcare system.

While we monitor the situation constantly, UTEP will continue to exercise the following guidance:

Remote Work: Vice Presidents in consultation with direct reports should actively identify maximum ways employees can work remotely in your areas – with priority for vulnerable populations – while continuing the mission. As many employees as possible should be working from home. Some disruption or confusion is likely and offices that are open will have fewer employees. If student employees can work remotely, they should be allowed to do so.

Length of Day: Offices are authorized to lengthen opening hours in circumstances where the work must be done on campus in order to reduce social interaction while allowing all employees to get their jobs done at staggered times.

Consolidation: For offices that provide face-to-face service, supervisors will assess whether that service can be provided while observing social distancing guidance. Supervisors may consolidate offices or go completely online or distance enabled even if there is a disruption in service with the approval of their Vice President. Not all offices on campus need to have their doors open this week. The request form to work remotely is here.

Public health guidelines: All offices and employees will follow best practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including social distancing, handwashing, and staying at home when sick. Employees should also stay at home if a household member is sick.

It’s an anxious time. Keep helping each other. There are resources for you, as an employee, as well here.

Finally, I wanted to thank all of you for taking the situation we face seriously and taking appropriate actions to keep yourself, your colleagues and our students safe and healthy.

Heather Wilson

President

***

***Fort Bliss releases official statement on three New York City Army Reserve members with COVID-19 (3/23/2020)

On March 22, William Beaumont Army Medical Center personnel confirmed an Army Reserve soldier assigned to the 77th Human Resources Company out of New York City tested positive for COVID-19.  The soldier was in close contact with two of the soldiers from the same unit who were confirmed COVID-19 positive by William Beaumont Army Medical Center personnel.

As a precautionary measure, the remainder of the Army Reserve unit was placed into quarantine on March 20 to prevent further potential spread of the virus.  All four soldiers who were confirmed COVID-19 positive are in isolation at Fort Bliss.

Fort Bliss leadership continues to work with installation and local community medical health professionals as part of the response efforts in the local area to ensure the health and safety of all.

***

***Vitalant: Canceled blood drives, Coronavirus fears severely impact blood supply (3/23/2020)

Coronavirus responses have severely impacted the U.S. blood supply as Vitalant and other blood centers across the country are struggling to maintain stable inventories and avoid a critical blood shortage.

With school closures and workers at home, 25% of Vitalant’s blood collections anticipated in March have disappeared—almost overnight. And that number continues to grow.

Through the end of June, Vitalant—the nation’s second largest blood collector—has had over 1,400 blood drives canceled, resulting in nearly 41,000 uncollected blood donations.

Many state and local governments have barred people from leaving their homes, except for essential functions. FEMA has specifically identified blood donation as an “essential and integral component of the emergency support function” as ongoing guidance from government entities recommend that people avoid gatherings and practice social distancing, and, in some states, “shelter in place”. But blood drives are not gatherings: they are blood donation operations that are key to our public health and safety.

To read the entire story, click here.

***

*** Governor Greg Abbott addressed Texans Sunday Afternoon, announcing new numbers, as well as actions by the state to combat the virus. (3/22/2020)

Governor Abbott addressed the state, updating the numbers of positive cases within the state, as well as the number of deaths and those who have been tested.

As of Sunday, six deaths have been reported in Texas; with almost 8700 Texans having been tested for COVID-19

Texas Department of State Health Service officials released a statement updating the number of people statewide that tested positive for the virus to 334 – up from 304 on Saturday.

Abbott also announced new action to increase the number of available nurses to help during the crisis, allowing retired or inactive nurses to reactivate their licenses.

For the issues of supplies, the governor announced additional adding staff that would be tasked to to find global sources of personal protection equipment, as well other supplies needed to combat the spread of the virus.

The governor also issued two Executive Orders, one postpone all “not medically necessary” surgeries at hospitals and the second suspending hospital regulations to increase capacity,  allowing hospitals treat more than one patient in a room.

Additionally, the recently-activated Texas National Guard would be deployed this week for use in testing locations, and helping in setting up healthcare facilities where needed.

As for a possible ‘Shelter in Place’ order for the entire state, the governor said that the effectiveness of his first Executive Orders from last week would be evaluated before any change would take place.  He pointed out that the ‘vast majority’ of the 254 counties in Texas did not have any cases of Coronavirus.

“The public knows that cases of COVID-19 are increasing in places like Dallas, in Houston, in Austin, and several other urban areas,” Gov. Abbott added. “…what may be right for places like the large urban areas may not be right at this particular point in time for the more than 200 counties, that have zero cases of COVID-19.”

He added that local officials have the authority to implement stricter standards if they choose to do so.

Click here to view the Governor’s full statement.

***

*** Clint ISD Prepared for Remote Learning Beginning March 24 (3/22/2020)

Clint ISD schools and buildings remain closed through April 3 due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. However, we are committed to continue to provide the quality education our parents and community has come to expect from Clint ISD.

Four years ago, Clint ISD invested in the 1:1 Device Initiative to provide every student with an iPad, Chromebook or laptop. This has allowed Clint ISD to create a robust remote learning plan for every student in Pre-K through 12th grade so learning can continue for students during the current district closure.  In addition, Clint ISD has purchased 5,000 hotspots to assist our families with Internet access.

On Monday, March 23, Clint ISD teachers and schools will begin contacting students and parents to determine technology needs and provide support as students prepare to learn from home. On Tuesday, March 24, students will begin the Clint ISD Remote Learning Plan through Friday, April 3.

Parents may access their child’s daily learning schedule and assignments, as well as information on free lunches, technology needs, and contact information on our District website, www.clintweb.net, and on school websites.

If parents need assistance, they can contact their child’s teacher or district personnel for assistance and support between 8 am to 3 pm.

***

*** NM Department of Health announces 2 more cases in Dona Ana County; Statewide total now at 65  (3/22/2020)

SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Sunday announced eight additional positive tests for COVID-19.  Per the state Department of Health, the most recent cases are:

Two new cases in Doña Ana County:

  • ​A female in her 50s.
  • A female in her 20s.

Two new cases in Bernalillo County:

  • A female in her 60s.
  • A male in his 30s.

One  new case in McKinley County:

  • ​A male 9 years old.

One new case in San Juan County:

  • ​A male in his 50s.

Two new cases in Santa Fe County:

  • ​A male in his 30s.
  • A male in his 40s.

Including the above newly reported cases, New Mexico has now had a total of 65 positive tests for COVID-19:

  • Bernalillo County: 34
  • Doña Ana County: 4
  • Lea County: 1
  • McKinley County: 2
  • Sandoval County: 7
  • San Juan County: 1
  • San Miguel County: 1
  • Santa Fe County: 10
  • ​​Socorro County: 2
  • Taos County: 3

The Department of Health has detected community spread. The agency reports that given the infectious nature of the virus it is likely other residents are infected but yet to be tested or confirmed positive. To that end, additional restrictions enacted by order of the secretary of health Thursday are intended to aggressively minimize person-to-person contact and ensure spread is mitigated by social distancing and isolation. Certain businesses are mandated closed; others have been instructed to limit operations. New Mexicans are strongly urged to limit travel to only what is necessary for health, safety and welfare.

The New Mexico Department of Health has active investigations into the positive patients, which includes contact-tracing and swabs of symptomatic individuals who have had contact with the positive cases.

State officials have vigorously encouraged all New Mexicans to practice social distancing procedures: stay home, particularly if you are sick.

Every New Mexican must work together to stem the spread of COVID-19.

New Mexicans who report symptoms of COVID-19 infection, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should call their health care provider or the NMDOH COVID-19 hotline immediately (1-855-600-3453).

People without those symptoms do not need to be tested for COVID-19. This is allergy season, and allergy symptoms such as sneezing or itchy eyes, nose or throat do not indicate a need for testing. While the state is gratified that COVID-19 testing is increasingly available, we need to prioritize testing for persons with symptoms of COVID-19 infection – fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

New Mexicans who have non-health-related questions or concerns can also call 833-551-0518 or visit newmexico.gov, which is being updated and finalized as a one-stop source for information.

The state Department of Health will update its dedicated COVID-19 webpage with additional tests as the state lab provides results.

***

***Two additional soldiers at Fort Bliss test positive for Coronavirus; total stands at 3 on post (3/21/2020)

On March 20, William Beaumont Army Medical Center personnel had confirmed an Army Reserve Soldier assigned to the 77th Human Resources Company out of New York City, tested positive for COVID-19.

As a precautionary measure, the remainder of the Army Reserve unit was placed into quarantine to prevent further potential spread of the virus.

Today, two of the original Soldier’s roommates from the same unit have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. All three Soldiers are in isolation at Fort Bliss.

Fort Bliss leadership continues to work with installation and local community medical health professionals as part of the response efforts in the local area to ensure the health and safety of all.

***

***El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Community Services Section, Precinct 6 Constables, Operation H.O.P.E pass out food  (3/21/2020)

On Saturday, March 21, 2020, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Community Services Section and Constables from Precinct 6 assisted Operation H.O.P.E during their emergency food giveaway at the El Paso County Coliseum.

The drive-thru event allowed for deputies, constables, and volunteers to distribute the food baskets while families remained inside their vehicles.

Operation H.O.P.E. in partnership with the Rock Center, Mayor Oscar Leeser, Sheriff Wiles and the Sheriff’s Office distributed 750 food baskets to help the El Paso community during these difficult times.

To view the full album from the giveaway, click on this link.

***

***Workforce Solutions Borderplex announces immediate job opportunities (3/21/2020)

 Workforce Solutions Borderplex (WSB) is eager to share a variety of job opportunities available in the Borderplex area.  Jobseekers should register at Work in Texas by creating a profile and then searching and applying for jobs at www.WorkInTexas.com.

Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is looking to fill at least 10 Temporary Customer Service Rep II positions at the West Texas Tele Center at 1359 Lomaland Drive.  These positions are critical to assist Texans with their unemployment claims.

Over 500 positions are available with several different businesses listed below.

  • Albertsons
  • Alorica
  • Dona Ana County Detention Center
  • Lowe’s (cashiers, delivery drivers, sales positions and overnight supervisors)
  • RoofToppers El Paso
  • Sky Transportation
  • Spartan Construction
  • U.S. Census
  • Valley Super Market
  • Vista Supermarkets
  • Walmart

For more information, jobseekers can call 915-887-2600.  Businesses looking to hire can call 915-887-2332.  Additional resources for those affected by the COVID-19 crisis can be found at the Borderplex jobs website.

***

***El Pasoans Fighting Hunger to open ‘Mega Pantries’ staring Monday, March 23 (3/21/2020)

Officials with El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank (EPFH) announced new distribution sites around the city, as the organization is experiencing a unique demand for emergency food boxes from individuals and families in need of assistance.

“To meet the evolving needs due to the spread of COVID-19 – coronavirus –  EPFH has teamed up with local partner agencies to set-up Mega Pantry distribution sites throughout El Paso starting Monday, March 23, 2020.”

The distribution schedule will be Monday through Friday from 10AM-2PM at the following locations:

Northeast – Katie’s Pantry – 4801 Sun Valley

Central – Kelly Center for Hunger Relief – 915 N. Florence

Lower Valley – Camino de Vida – 7822 San Jose Rd.

Socorro/Clint/San Elizario – El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank – 9541 Plaza Circle

Starting Tuesday, March 24, 2020

West – Abundant Living Faith Center West – 7100 N. Desert Blvd.

~~To read the complete story, click here~~

***

***Bishop Seitz, priests climb Cristo Rey in prayer for quick end to Coronavirus pandemic (3/21/2020)

On Saturday, Bishop Mark Seitz, along with a small cohort of priests from around the Diocese of El Paso climbed up Mt. Cristo Rey in prayer for the El Paso community for a quick end to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

6 priests and one Seminarian along with Bishop Mark Seitz, climbed to the summit of Mt. Cristo Rey on Saturday morning.  Photos below courtesy Diocese of El Paso/Facebook

***

*** Streetcar Service suspended to Protect Public from Evolving COVID-19 (3/21/2020)

Effective Sunday, March 22, 2020 the El Paso Streetcar will suspend all operations in response to COVID-19.  The service modifications will remain in effect until further notice.

As a reminder, Sun Metro will be waiving all bus fares starting Sunday, March 22, 2020. Fixed Route, BRIO and LIFT services will offer free rides until further notice; Other recently announced service adjustments include:

  • In line with the practice of social distancing, the following changes will be implemented:

o   All passengers will board and exit buses through the rear doors. Boarding exceptions will be made for riders who have accessibility needs and require the use of the drop-down ramps located at the front doors.

o   All passengers are encouraged to leave two empty seats between themselves and others.

o   Effective Monday March 30, 2020 the Fixed Route, Brio and the LIFT will run on a Saturday schedule Monday through Saturday. Sunday routes will continue to operate on a Sunday schedule.

For more information about Sun Metro, visit sunmetro.net or call (915) 212-3333. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/sunmetro or follow us on Twitter @SunMetro.

***

*** 2nd Case of Coronavirus found in Dona Ana County, Statewide count now at 57 (3/21/2020)

SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Saturday announced fourteen additional positive tests for COVID-19, including the 2nd case in Dona Ana County.
Per the state Department of Health, the most recent cases are:
9 new cases in Bernalillo County:
  • A female in her 70s
  • A female in her 60s
  • Two males in their 40s
  • Two males in their 30s
  • A female in her 30s
  • A female in her 20s
  • A male infant
1 new case in Doña Ana County:
  • ​A female in her 20s
1 new case in Lea County:
  • ​A male in his 70s
1 new case in Sandoval County:
  • ​A female in her 40s
1 new case in Santa Fe County:
  • ​A male in his 50s
1 new case in Taos County:
  • ​A female in her 50s
Including the above newly reported cases, New Mexico has now had a total of 57 positive tests for COVID-19:
  • Bernalillo County: 32
  • Doña Ana County: 2
  • Lea County: 1
  • McKinley County: 1
  • Sandoval County: 7
  • San Miguel County: 1
  • Santa Fe County: 8
  • ​​Socorro County: 2
  • Taos County: 3
The Department of Health has detected community spread. The agency reports that given the infectious nature of the virus it is likely other residents are infected but yet to be tested or confirmed positive. To that end, additional restrictions enacted by order of the secretary of health Thursday are intended to aggressively minimize person-to-person contact and ensure spread is mitigated by social distancing and isolation. Certain businesses are mandated closed; others have been instructed to limit operations. New Mexicans are strongly urged to limit travel to only what is necessary for health, safety and welfare.
The New Mexico Department of Health has active investigations into the positive patients, which includes contact-tracing and swabs of symptomatic individuals who have had contact with the positive cases.
State officials have vigorously encouraged all New Mexicans to practice social distancing procedures: stay home, particularly if you are sick.
Every New Mexican must work together to stem the spread of COVID-19.
New Mexicans who report symptoms of COVID-19 infection, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should call their health care provider or the NMDOH COVID-19 hotline immediately (1-855-600-3453).
People without those symptoms do not need to be tested for COVID-19. This is allergy season, and allergy symptoms such as sneezing or itchy eyes, nose or throat do not indicate a need for testing. While the state is gratified that COVID-19 testing is increasingly available, we need to prioritize testing for persons with symptoms of COVID-19 infection – fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
New Mexicans who have non-health-related questions or concerns can also call 833-551-0518 or visit newmexico.gov, which is being updated and finalized as a one-stop source for information.
The state Department of Health will update its dedicated COVID-19 webpage with additional tests as the state lab provides results.

***

***Sun Metro Notice of COVID-19 Service Changes; Free Rides, Schedule Modifications Programmed (3/21/2020)

In response to COVID-19, Sun Metro will be waiving all bus fares starting Sunday, March 22, 2020

Fixed Route, BRIO and LIFT services will offer free rides until further notice; Streetcar will continue to waive fees as well. Other service adjustments include:

 In line with the practice of social distancing, the following changes will be implemented:

o   All passengers will board and exit buses through the rear doors. Boarding exceptions will be made for riders who have accessibility needs and require the use of the drop-down ramps located at the front doors.

o   All passengers are encouraged to leave two empty seats between themselves and others.

Effective Monday March 30, the following service changes will be implemented:

o   Fixed Route, Brio and the LIFT will run on a Saturday schedule Monday through Saturday. Sunday routes will continue to operate on a Sunday schedule.

o   The El Paso Streetcar will operate on a Sunday schedule the entire week.

For more information about Sun Metro, visit sunmetro.net or call (915) 212-3333. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/sunmetro or follow us on Twitter @SunMetro.

***

***Police Implement Modifications in Response to COVID-19 Threat (3/20/2020)

In an effort to address on-going concerns surrounding the presence of COVID-19 in the El Paso Police area, the El Paso Police Department is implementing modifications to our response protocols.

Dispatchers will now ask health and travel related questions to individuals requesting Police response. Dispatchers may provide callers with specific instructions regarding their interactions with Police, to include maintaining a social distance of at least six feet from officers.

Citizens are strongly encouraged to utilize on-line and telephone reporting options to file Police reports when Police response is not paramount.

The El Paso Police Department will continue to provide the same high quality service that has exemplified our department for decades.

We ask for the public’s patience and cooperation in our effort to maintain the safety of both citizens and officers in this trying time.

Police Non-Emergency: 915-832-4400
Telephone Reporting: 915-832-4436
On-line Reporting via this link

***

***First case of Coronavirus found at Fort Bliss (3/20/2020)

Friday night, officials with William Beaumont Army Medical Center confirmed that a soldier at Fort Bliss has tested positive for the coronavirus.

According to WBAMC officials, the soldier is assigned to the 77th Human Resources Company, part of an Army Reserve unit from New York City, at the post for training.

The soldier is now in isolation at the post.

This is the first confirmed case of the virus at Fort Bliss, along with six other cases confirmed in the El Paso area.

***

***New Restrictions for Cross-border Travel at El Paso Ports of Entry (3/20/2020)

To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, El Paso Mayor Dee Margo is supporting a decision by the federal government to limit travel along land ports of entry connecting the United States and Mexico to “essential travel.”

“We are one region dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic; therefore, it is imperative that as a region we restrict unnecessary travel and personal contact,” Margo said. “At this time I believe the Federal limitations applied to our bridges will still allow for commerce and essential business to be conducted.”

Homeland Security plans to restrict travel into the United States through land ports along the U.S-Mexico border to “essential travel.” The restrictions will begin at 11:59 p.m. EST on March 20, 2020 and will remain in place until April 20, 2020.

“Essential travel” includes (but is not limited to):

  • U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the United States
  • Individuals traveling for medical purposes (e.g., to receive medical treatment in the United States)
  • Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions
  • Individuals traveling to work in the United States (e.g., individuals working in the farming or agriculture industry who must travel between the United States and Mexico in furtherance of such work)
  • Individuals traveling for emergency response and public health purposes (e.g., government officials or emergency responders entering the United States to support Federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial government efforts to respond to COVID-19 or other emergencies)
  • Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (e.g., truck drivers supporting the movement of cargo between the United States and Mexico)
  • Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the spouses and children of members of the U.S.
  • Armed Forces, returning to the United States
  • Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations

The following travel does not fall within the definition of “essential travel” for purposes of this Notification:

  • Individuals traveling for tourism purposes (e.g., sightseeing, recreation, gambling, or attending cultural events).

The City of El Paso manages southbound lanes at the Paso Del Norte, Stanton and Ysleta/Zaragoza ports of entry. The southbound lanes will continue to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

South bound lanes at the ports of entry managed by the City of El Paso remain open to travelers crossing into Juárez, Mexico. Travelers are encouraged to limit their travel into Mexcio to “essential travel,” and to stay vigilant of travel notifications issued by Mexico.

***

***1st Armored Division HQ, Fort Bliss release statement regarding on-going battle with Coronavirus  (3/20/2020)

The @USArmy along with the Division has taken steps to protect the health of our Soldiers, Families and Civilians. We are committed to the health protection of the Force as we address the challenge of COVID19 together.

***

***City Issues Amended Emergency Directive to Reduce Spread of COVID-19 (3/20/2020)

On Friday the City of El Paso amended the City’s emergency directive in accordance with guidelines issued by the state and federal government, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The following order will go into effective at 11:59 p.m. tonight, March 20, and will remain in effect until April 3, 2020:

  • Order No. 1: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, every person in Texas shall avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.
  • Order No. 2: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, people shall avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts, or visiting gyms or massage parlors; provided, however, that the use of drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options is allowed and highly encouraged throughout the limited duration of this executive order.
  • Order No. 3: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, people shall not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
  • Order No. 4: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, schools shall temporarily close.

The directive does not prohibit the public from visiting a variety of places, including grocery stores, gas stations, parks and banks, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

For offices and workplaces that remain open, employees should practice good hygiene and, where feasible, work from home in order to achieve optimum social distancing.

For more information visit www.epstrong.org or www.EPHealth.com and click on the COVID-19 page.

***

***EPCC will close all facilities starting at midnight, Friday March 20th (3/20/2020)

As per Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order intended to further contain the spread of COVID-19 across Texas, El Paso Community College (EPCC) will close its facilities beginning midnight March 20th through midnight April 3rd.

College Administrators will be on duty via distance technology. There will also be limited essential staff on-site to ensure critical college operations continue. These are in the process of being determined. Employees should not report for duty unless they are contacted by their supervisor. Employees who are able may perform their duties via technology from home after consulting with their supervisor.

As previously announced, all courses will be taught online via Blackboard beginning March 30th. Students enrolled in labs, practicums or similar courses should contact their instructor for additional guidance and instructions. EPCC is committed to ensuring students can continue learning and finish the spring semester.

EPCC has a substantial public interest in and is committed to protecting the health and safety of our students, employees and the community. We will continue to follow guidance as directed by government and health authorities.

EPCC will continue to provide updates online, via EPCC email, social media and Tejano Alert.

***

***Municipal Court to Close for In-Person Services  (3/20/2020)

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and for the safety of the public and City of El Paso employees, the El Paso Municipal Court will be closed to the public for in-person services starting Monday, March 23, until further notice.

All court hearings, sessions and jury duty at all bond office locations will be suspended during this time. The court will reschedule and notify residents who have scheduled trials, hearings or jury appearances by mail with a new time and date.

In addition, Municipal Court activities such as Juvenile Case Management Classes, Youth Delinquency Prevention Classes, and Teen Court will be suspended.

While Municipal Court facilities remain closed, residents can still conduct business with the court online or by phone. Residents are encouraged to resolve their citation(s) through the following methods:

·        Online payments: www.citepayusa.com

·        Phone payments: (915) 212-0232

·        Online chat with a court clerk: www.elpasotexas.gov/municipal-courts

·        Email: defendants@elpasotexas.gov

Additional information including questions or concerns is available by calling the El Paso Municipal Court at (915) 212-0215 or visiting the city’s website.

***

***Fabens ISD releases update on district closure, Pickup meal service starts March 23rd (3/20/2020)

As the local situation and government response to COVID-19 continues to rapidly evolve, we are monitoring all information and making adjustments to our educational plans.

Until further notice, only essential staff will report to work on Monday, March 23, through April 3, 2020.

Supervisors will notify staff who are deemed essential staff. This is in order to complete critical functions such as payroll, food services, security, etc., so we can be able to continue serving our students, employees, and community during this difficult time.

During the weeks of school closure, Fabens ISD is committed to serving breakfast and lunch to all students and children 18 years old and younger.

Beginning March 23rd through April 3rd, excluding Saturday and Sunday, meals can be picked up curbside at the Fabens High School cafeteria from 7:30 – 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM.

Please continue to check the Fabens ISD website for updates.

***

***El Paso Comic Con (EPCON) postpones annual event until October (3/20/2020)

Friday afternoon, officials with the annual El Paso Comic Con announced the postponement of the event until October 2-4th. Below is their statement:

The producers of El Paso Comic Con continue to closely monitor the latest developments regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). In response to the growing awareness and concerns, we have decided it is in the public’s interest to move El Paso Comic Con to October 2-4, 2020 at the El Paso Convention Center.

More information about the event to come.Your tickets will be honored on the new dates. We’ll see you in October!

***

***El Paso Chihuahuas to stream virtual game(s) against Leigh High Valley IronPigs (3/20/2020)

For those residents who are missing baseball the @epchihuahuas have the cure, as they started a virtual 3 game series versus the Lehigh Valley IronPigs yesterday.   The ‘Dawgs dropped the first game at Lehigh Valley 9-2, and look to bounce back tonight.

Check out the virtual Chihuahuas as they take on @IronPigs on @Twitch at 5:05p Watch LIVE via this link.

***

***William Beaumont Army Medical Center to begin COVID-19 screening at Main Hospital Gates (3/20/2020)

Friday afternoon, officials with William Beaumont Army Medical Center released the following information via their social media pages:

***

***The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park Delays Opening (3/20/2020)

The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park announced that the hotel opening has been delayed.  A statement has been provided below.

“The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park stands in solidarity with our country’s current stance on social distancing and the preventative measures needed to stop the spread of COVID-19. At this time, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to postpone our reopening to a date later this spring. Our entire hotel team stands behind this decision as it is our responsibility to act in the best interest of our employees and future guests.

We will continue to monitor state and national health advisories and mandates, and we will announce a new opening date when appropriate. We look forward to opening our doors and ushering in the next era of The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park very soon. From the re-imagination of La Perla, our spectacular rooftop bar which was once Elizabeth Taylor’s penthouse, to the innovative dining experience our Executive Chef Andres Padilla will offer at Ámbar Restaurante, the transformation has been remarkable, and we can’t wait to share it with you.” 

***

***Dona Ana County records first case of Coronavirus, State total stands at 43 (3/20/2020)

SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Friday announced eight additional positive tests for COVID-19.

Per the state Department of Health, the most recent cases are:

  • ​A female in Bernalillo County in her teens
  • Two males in Bernalillo County in their 40s
  • A male in Doña Ana County in his 20s
  • A male in McKinley County in his 30s
  • A female in Sandoval County in her teens
  • A male in Sandoval County in his 80s
  • A female in Taos County in her 70s

Including the above newly reported cases, New Mexico has now had a total of 43 positive tests for COVID-19:

  • Bernalillo County: 23
  • Doña Ana County: 1
  • McKinley County: 1
  • Sandoval County: 6
  • San Miguel County: 1
  • Santa Fe County: 7
  • ​​Socorro County: 2
  • Taos County: 2

The Department of Health has detected community spread. The agency reports that given the infectious nature of the virus it is likely other residents are infected but yet to be tested or confirmed positive.

To that end, additional restrictions enacted by order of the secretary of health Thursday are intended to aggressively minimize person-to-person contact and ensure spread is mitigated by social distancing and isolation. Certain businesses are mandated closed; others have been instructed to limit operations. New Mexicans are strongly urged to limit travel to only what is necessary for health, safety and welfare.

The New Mexico Department of Health has active investigations into the positive patients, which includes contact-tracing and swabs of symptomatic individuals who have had contact with the positive cases.

State officials have vigorously encouraged all New Mexicans to practice social distancing procedures: stay home, particularly if you are sick.

Every New Mexican must work together to stem the spread of COVID-19.

New Mexicans who report symptoms of COVID-19 infection, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should call their health care provider or the NMDOH COVID-19 hotline immediately (1-855-600-3453).

People without those symptoms do not need to be tested for COVID-19. This is allergy season, and allergy symptoms such as sneezing or itchy eyes, nose or throat do not indicate a need for testing. While the state is gratified that COVID-19 testing is increasingly available, we need to prioritize testing for persons with symptoms of COVID-19 infection – fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

New Mexicans who have non-health-related questions or concerns can also call 833-551-0518 or visit newmexico.gov, which is being updated and finalized as a one-stop source for information.

The state Department of Health will update its dedicated COVID-19 webpage with additional tests as the state lab provides results.

***

***President Trump announces pending closure of US/Mexico Border, Tax Day moving from April 15 to July 15 (3/20/2020)

President Donald Trump, during his daily team briefing on Friday, announced that the US-Mexico border would be closed tonight, the latest step in the county’s journey to combat the Coronavirus pandemic.

Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf stated the closure would go into effect midnight Friday at both the northern and southern borders.

Officials added that the closure would last at least 30 days.  When asked about a nationwide lockdown, President Trump said, “I don’t think so.”

The closure deals with non-essential travel, and does not apply with border crossers who attend “educational institutions.”  As for those migrants taken into custody at the border, Secretary Wolf said they would be returned to “Canada, Mexico…and other countries without delay.”

Administration officials made the point several times that the closure would not harm trade, and was in effect to curb any migrants entering the country that could have the Coronavirus.

In addition to the closing of the border, President Trump announced that tax day would be moved from April 15th to July 15th.  Taxpayers would be able to file with no penalties and no penalties.

On Thursday, a new travel alert was issued by the State Department urging Americans not to go abroad under any circumstances and to return home if they are already abroad unless they plan to remain overseas.  In part, the alert read:

“In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.”

***

***UTEP releases information, helpful procedures in wake of U.S.- Mexico Border Restrictions (3/20/2020)

Today, it was announced that the U.S. and Mexico have reached an agreement to restrict all non-essential travel in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

This includes the ports of entry in the El Paso/Juárez area. It will be effective at midnight March 21, 2020.

Examples of essential travel include travel to attend educational institutions, for medical purposes, for emergency response and public health services, and for individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade.

As this situation continues to develop, we will share additional information.

The U.S. Embassy and consulates in Mexico have also suspended routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services as of March 18, 2020. Exceptions will be made for certain emergencies. Contact the Embassy or consulate in your area directly for specific information on available services.

Members of the UTEP community who are unable to cross the border to return to their normal place of residency may need to seek out temporary living arrangements with friends or family members if available.

Those individuals who need assistance finding a place to live should contact Elisa Espinosa at eespinosa4@utep.edu or 915-747-6117.

• Students are expected to continue to fulfill online or other course requirements once courses begin remotely on March 30.

• Difficulties with internet access or completing course requirements online should be discussed directly with the professor.

• Staff and faculty who are unable to report to work due to the border restrictions and need assistance should contact Sandy Vasquez at svasquez@utep.edu or hrs@utep.edu, or call 915-747-7873.

International students who are impacted by the border closure should report any changes in their temporary or permanent residency to the Office of International Programs at oip@utep.edu or 915-747-5664. For more information, visit this website.

The UTEP community is working together to support our students, staff and faculty impacted by recent developments at the border. We will continue to update the community as we receive new information

***

*** TFCU to close all branch lobbies from Monday, March 23rd thru at least April 13, Drive thrus to remain open (3/20/2020)

 TFCU‘s Executive Management and Board of Directors have been, monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the beginning. They have a Response Team in place to ensure the safety and health of staff and members while still providing the community with the highest level of service.

Therefore, to maintain the well-being of members and staff and to limit the spreading of COVID-19(Coronavirus) in our community, TFCU will be temporarily closing all its branch lobbies beginning Monday, March 23 until Monday, April 13 or further notice.

At this time, all branch drive-thrus will remain open during normal business hours. Normal business hours are: Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 6:00pm and Saturdays from 9:00am to 12:00pm.

Members can complete most of their usual lobby transactions through the drive thru; however, TFCU offers a variety of convenience services like online banking, mobile app, TFCU Branch ATMs, Allpoint Network ATMs, ProPay, and their Personal Audio Teller Response System (PAT) where you can check your balances, make transfers, and even check the status of your loan all from the safety of your home. For more information on their convenience services, please visit tfcu.coop.

In addition, TFCU assures the community that they are available to help those in need during these economically challenging times with loan payment extensions or special assistance loans. To find out more about how TFCU can help you, please call 915-544-5626.

If you have any additional questions about your specific situation, please contact their Call Center at 915-843-8328 during normal business hours.

***

***El Paso ISD updates on student meal distribution, procedures starting Monday (3/20/2020)

EPISD next week will begin distributing free, take-home meals for any child ages 1-18 at fifty school sites throughout the District as part of the Emergency Preparedness Week response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided to any child, regardless of their enrollment status in the district the weeks of March 23-27 and March 30-April 3.

he meals will be to take home. No dinning will be allowed in the schools.

Breakfast will be served only on March 23 only from 8 to 9 a.m. Lunch for the two weeks will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Children will be given a lunch and take-home breakfast for the next morning. Children must be present to receive the meal.

The meals will be distributed at the following schools:

  • Andress High, 5400 Sun Valley
  • Aoy Elementary, 901 S. Campbell
  • Armendariz Middle, 2231 Arizona
  • Austin High School, 3500 Memphis
  • Barron Elementary, 11155 Whitey Ford
  • Bassett Middle, 4400 Elm
  • Bonham Elementary, 7024 Cielo Vista
  • Bowie High, 801 S. San Marcial
  • Brown Middle, 7820 Helen of Troy
  • Canyon Hills Middle, 8930 Eclipse
  • Chapin High, 7000 Dyer
  • Charles Middle, 4909 Trojan
  • Clardy Elementary, 5508 Delta
  • Coldwell Elementary, 4101 Altura
  • Cooley Elementary, 107 N. Collingsworth
  • Crockett Elementary, 3200 Wheeling
  • Crosby Elementary, 5411 Wren
  • El Paso High, 800 E. Schuster
  • Fannin Elementary, 5425 Salem
  • Franklin High, 900 N. Resler
  • Green Elementary, 5430 Buckley
  • Guerrero Elementary, 7530 Lakehurst
  • Guillen Middle, 900 S. Cotton
  • Hawkins Elementary, 5816 Stephenson
  • Henderson Middle, 5505 Robert Alva
  • Herrera Elementary, 350 Coates
  • Hillside Elementary, 4500 Clifton
  • Kohlberg Elementary, 1445 Nardo Goodman
  • Lee Elementary, 7710 Pandora
  • Logan Elementary, 3200 Ellerthorpe
  • MacArthur Elementary, 8101 Whitus
  • Magoffin Elementary, 4931 Hercules
  • Mesita ECDC, 220 Lawton
  • Morehead Middle, 5625 Confetti
  • Moreno Elementary, 2300 San Diego
  • Moye Elementary, 4825 Alps
  • Nixon Elementary, 11141 Loma Roja
  • Park Elementary, 3601 Edgar Park
  • Putnam Elementary, 6508 Fiesta
  • Rivera Elementary, 6445 Escondido
  • Roberts Elementary, 341 Thorn
  • Ross Middle, 6101 Hughey
  • Rusk Elementary, 3601 N. Copia
  • Stanton Elementary, 5414 Hondo Pass
  • Terrace Hills Middle, 4835 Blossom
  • Tom Lea Elementary, 4851Marcus Uribe
  • Travis Elementary, 5000 N. Stevens
  • Whitaker Elementary, 4700 Rutherford
  • Wiggs Middle, 1300 Circle
  • Zach White Elementary, 4256 Roxbury

***

***Ysleta ISD updates hours of operation for meal distribution (3/19/2020)

The hours of operation HAVE CHANGED for the distribution of breakfast and lunch meals at Ysleta ISD schools during the closure beginning Monday, March 23.
At select campuses, vehicles can pull up from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. and receive BOTH breakfast and lunch meals on a drive-through basis for children inside the vehicle.

The select campuses are:

  • Capistrano Elementary
  • Constance Hulbert Elementary School
  • Desertaire Elementary School
  • R.E.L. Washington Elementary School
  • Bel Air Middle School
  • Del Valle Middle School
  • Parkland Middle School
  • Bel Air High School
  • Del Valle High School
  • Eastwood High School
  • Hanks High School
  • Parkland High School
  • Riverside High School
  • Ysleta High School
Thank you for partnering with us to make sure all YISD families are aware they can receive both breakfast and lunch meals for their children when they visit the select campuses above between the revised hours of 7:30-10:30 a.m. on weekdays during the school closure.

***

***Canutillo ISD times/locations for free meal distribution (3/19/2020)

Canutillo ISD will serve free breakfast and lunch for any child ages 1-18 in El Paso who may need a meal during the declared weeks of emergency preparedness of March 23 – April 3, when the District will be closed.

The Breakfast schedule at these campuses will be from 7 am to 9 am.
The Lunch schedule at these campuses will be from 11 am to 1 pm.

The meals will be served at the following schools:

  • Canutillo High School
  • Bill Childress Elementary
  • Garcia Elementary
  • Canutillo Elementary

***

***Ysleta ISD updates times, campuses that will offer curbside meals (3/19/2020)

To help minimize the impact to YISD families during the weeks of school closure, select campuses will offer weekday breakfast and lunch meals to school-aged children between ages 1-18 on a drive-through basis.

Vehicles will be allowed to pull up to the campuses listed below from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. and receive both breakfast and lunch meals for children inside the vehicle:

  • Capistrano Elementary
  • Constance Hulbert Elementary School
  • Desertaire Elementary School
  • R.E.L. Washington Elementary School
  • Bel Air Middle School
  • Del Valle Middle School
  • Parkland Middle School
  • Bel Air High School
  • Del Valle High School
  • Eastwood High School
  • Hanks High School
  • Parkland High School
  • Riverside High School
  • Ysleta High School

As always, the district will continue to work closely with city and county health officials, and monitor any developments regarding COVID-19 as it relates to the Ysleta ISD community.

***

***IDEA Public Schools close until further notice, implements Distance Learning, Meal Service Program (3/19/2020)

To help keep our community safe, IDEA Public Schools campuses in Texas will remain closed until further notice. All planned events, athletics, field trips, after-school programs and other campus activities have been canceled for the remainder of the year.

Student instruction will continue online via distance learning for all students in grades Pre-K through 12 beginning:

  • Monday, March 23 in Tarrant County
  • Tuesday, March 24 in San Antonio
  • Monday, March 30 in the Rio Grande Valley, El Paso, and Austin

IDEA will also provide physical copies of school materials available via curbside pickup.

In an effort to provide essential services that support the well-being of our students and families, all campuses will remain open only for curbside meal services for families beginning:

  • Thursday, March 19 in Tarrant County
  • Friday, March 20 in San Antonio
  • Monday, March 23 in the Rio Grande Valley, Austin, and El Paso

Select campuses will remain open to provide limited childcare to IDEA parents who work in critical public safety roles such as healthcare, first response, city or county-based roles.

Childcare will be available for these parents at designated campuses from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm Mondays – Fridays and will abide by CDC guidelines for public health, including temperature checks upon entry and gatherings of no more than 10 people per childcare area.

Childcare will be available for up to 50 students per site on a first-come, first-served basis.

Families wanting more information on extending school closure, meal service, childcare services, and the distance learning program, may visit IDEA’s website

***

***Emergence Health Network reminds community of mental health and wellness needs during this time (3/19/2020)

Emergence Health Network, the area’s mental health and wellness professionals, remind residents that they continue to offer crisis services for those needing them throughout the COVID-19 epidemic. Residents can call the Emergence Crisis Line at 915-779-1800, 24/7 if they need services.

Live operators continue to staff the crisis line as usual.

***

***Five additional cases of Coronavirus found in El Paso  (3/24/2020)

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) reported a total of 12 positive cases within the County of El Paso.

As the number of tests conducted by private laboratories increase, the City of El Paso will only report out El Paso County positive cases. This number will not include Fort Bliss cases.

The public is reminded that COVID-19 is not an airborne disease like measles. It is spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouth or nose of people who are nearby or possibly inhaled into the lungs.

Preliminary information about COVID-19 shows that about 80 percent of cases are mild and most people do not need hospitalization. However, older adults and people with underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes are at a greater risk of complications.

DPH officials continue to urge residents to follow prevention measures and stay up-to-date with the latest information by subscribing to both the City and DPH social media platforms, and to visit www.epstrong.org for updates.

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) COVID-19 hotline (915) 212-6843 or (915) 21-COVID is available for questions.  The hotline will be operational from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

2-1-1 Texas Call Center will focus on referrals to services for those impacted by business closures and unemployment.

***

***City offers drive thru COVID-19 Sample Collection to residents with Doctor’s Orders (3/24/2020)

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH), the Border Regional Advisory Council (BorderRAC), and other public health partners are collecting specimens to test for COVID-19.

Samples are being collected for first responders, healthcare workers, and patients with a doctor’s order. Only those members of the community who have met the testing criteria and obtained a doctor’s order for testing will be allowed entrance. The ordering doctor will schedule an appointment for the drive-thru collection site for the patient.

Local doctors and clinics that cannot collect specimens for testing have already begun to use this system.

“We are implementing a system so people who do not need emergency room care can be sampled and tested while not overwhelming the healthcare system,” said Wanda Helgesen, BorderRAC Executive Director.

To read the entire story, CLICK HERE.

***

***Two UTEP Employees Test Positive for COVID-19 (3/24/2020)

On Tuesday, March 24, two male employees of The University of Texas at El Paso tested positive for COVID-19. The employees traveled to an out-of-town event and returned to El Paso on Thursday, March 12.

Both employees are in self isolation and recovering at home.

Campus officials and support services are in contact by phone with the employees on a daily basis.

One of the employees had limited access into the Foster Stevens Basketball Center and the Larry K. Durham Sports Center on March 13. Both facilities have been isolated and have been cleaned regularly with disinfectant.

The following are recommendations to stay safe:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash immediately after use.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask

For the latest updates on the University’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, please visit UTEP’s coronavirus page.

***

*** YISD expands hours of drive-through meal service (3/24/2020)

In order to better serve our community during the weeks of school closure, the Ysleta Independent School District has expanded the hours of its drive-through meal service at 14 select campuses, where parents/guardians may pull up to the schools to receive meals for all eligible children under 18 who are present inside the vehicle.

Effective Wednesday, March 25, both breakfast and lunch meals for children will be distributed curbside to children inside vehicles that arrive between the expanded hours of 7:30 to 11 a.m. on weekdays at the following 14 campuses:

Capistrano Elementary School
Constance Hulbert Elementary School
Desertaire Elementary School
R.E.L. Washington Elementary School
Bel Air Middle School
Del Valle Middle School
Parkland Middle School
Bel Air High School
Del Valle High School
Eastwood High School
Hanks High School
Parkland High School
Riverside High School
Ysleta High School

In these first two days of the drive-through meal service, Ysleta ISD employees provided more than 13,000 breakfast and lunch meals at all 14 sites.

During the weeks of school closure, Ysleta ISD remains committed to assisting its families in accordance with city and county health officials and directives, and will continue to monitor all developments regarding COVID-19 as it relates to the Ysleta ISD community.

***

*** EPISD meal distribution continues through Stay Home, Work Safe rule (3/24/2020)

Meal preparation and distribution will continue thru the mandatory ‘Stay Home, Work Safe’ period here in El Paso.

“Families are allowed to leave their home to pick up meals and then head back home to eat them,” EPISD officials shared. “Meals are passed out from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with our employees are practicing social distancing to make sure they’re as safe as possible.”

***

***EPISD to pay subs, temps during school closures (3/24/2020)

The El Paso Independent School District approved new guidelines that will allow payments to be made to substitute teachers and temporary employees during the COVID-19 related school closures.

Trustees on Tuesday approved a resolution drafted by the administration that will give substitutes and temporary employees who have worked with the District since at least Jan. 1, 2020 some compensation.

“We are happy to be able to provide this peace of mind for our subs and temporary employees during these uncertain times,” said Superintendent Juan E. Cabrera. “As one of the largest employers in the city, this move will have a positive impact on the financial
wellbeing of El Pasoans as they brace themselves against the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added. “We hope this bring some comfort and relief.”

EPISD policies already allowed the compensation of its salaried and hourly employees under emergency guidelines. However, payment to non-permanent employees like substitutes and temps required Board approval and administrative review.

Under the plan, substitutes and temps will receive twice-a-month compensation that average their earnings from EPISD in January and February in 15-day increments.

This payment option will be in place only during the time the District is closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

***

*** City, County officials announce mandatory ‘Stay Home -Work Safe’ order for area, goes into effect at 11:59P Tuesday EVENING

In an ongoing effort to suppress the spread of COVID-19, the City and the County of El Paso have issued a “Stay Home, Work Safe” Order for the area that will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, and be in effect until further notice.

El Paso City Mayor Dee Margo, El Paso County Judge Ricardo A. Samaniego and Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza announced Tuesday morning the details of the new joint City-County order.

The order, the most stringent measures local officials have taken so far to address the worldwide public health crisis, is directing the public to remain at their residence except to obtain essential services or engage in essential activities and work for essential business and government services.

“We must protect the health and safety of this community. We cannot wait until it is too late, so we must continue working to stay ahead of the wave of cases and help flatten the curve by suppression of this virus,” said El Paso Mayor Dee Margo. “It is very important that residents and businesses cooperate to make this effort as successful as possible to keep our community healthy.”

“We are committed to keeping this community safe and healthy. While the effort is aggressive, there is no question that it will be effective in limiting COVID-19 exposure to the public,” said County Judge Ricardo A. Samaniego. “We all must realize that our actions and inactions could have a lasting effect on the entire the community, this order will help ensure positive outcomes for the health of El Paso.”

The order applies to everyone in El Paso County to work safe and stay home with the exceptions of essential businesses and activities; to include but not limited to emergency personnel, healthcare personnel, groceries, financial, critical trades, postal services, food delivery or pick-up, home-based care, childcare, and those performing essential government functions.

The order will continue until further notice and those who are found violating it could face a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or be jailed for up to 180 days. To report non-compliance, please email COVIDCompliance@elpasotexas.gov.

For more information, visit www.EPStrong.orgRead the complete order below.  [pdf-embedder url=”https://elpasoheraldpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Stay-Home-Work-Safe-Order.pdf” title=”Stay Home, Work Safe Order”]

***

***  UTEP issues letter regarding remote work for Student Employees (3/24/2020)

Miner Student Employees & Supervisors,

Due to ongoing developments with COVID-19 and changes in UTEP campus operations, a number of you likely have questions about how student workers will be affected, especially those who depend on university paychecks to cover their college expenses.

The health and well-being of our Miner community and the academic progress of our students are our top concerns, and we recognize that financial stability is an important element of student success.

As UTEP transitions to a remote workforce, we want to provide our student workers as much flexibility as possible to continue working. To that end, both student employees and supervisors should follow these guidelines:

  • Supervisors should enable student employees for remote work, exercising their full ability to flexibly identify activities, tasks and mechanisms for that work. We have provided some useful resources to help supervisors consider and develop various alternatives that are suitable for work assignments during the remote working period.
  • When working remotely, the student must have a Temporary Remote Work Agreement Form on file with their supervisor. This form can be found on the UTEP Temporary Remote Work Policy webpage.
  • To cover any gaps regarding their remote work options, student employees are empowered to work on their professional development. The Office of Human Resources has compiled a list of Online Professional Development Resources that can be accessed anytime from anywhere.

For students who have not yet done so, please contact your supervisor regarding your work assignment, completing your Temporary Remote Work Agreement, and with any questions you may have.  Thank you for your patience during this unprecedented time.

Best,

Mark McGurk
Vice President for Business Affairs

***

*** Planning and Inspections Notice City Departments Take Precautions Amid Coronavirus Concerns (3/24/2020)

In light of the “Stay Home, Work Safe” Order the Planning and Inspections Department, is taking a series of measures to protect employees and customers.

The department is temporarily limiting in-person interactions with customers to minimize the spread of the highly contagious disease.  Effective immediately the One-Stop Shop will temporarily close to walk-in customers.

Staff will continue to be available to receive and return calls, make appointments, and respond to emails. All contractor registrations expiring between now and April 30, 2020 will be automatically extended without penalty, provided bond and general liability documentation or up-to-date or are submitted via email.

Planning and Inspections will be accepting and processing applications and other development related documents by email and/or regular mail or electronic submittal. Meetings will be conducted via conference calls and/or webex/skype.

Customers are encouraged to visit the website to pay online or submit plans, or to learn how to use these online services. Customers may also use the Build El Paso Inspection App, available for iOS or Android users, or IVR to schedule inspections by calling (915)-313-6100.

***

*** Environmental Services Department COVID-19 Related Service Changes (3/24/2020)

Effective immediately, the City of El Paso Environmental Services Department (ESD) will only pickup household waste placed inside gray bins on collection days.

Previously for a small fee the department allowed customers to dispose of extra household trash by bagging the extra waste and placing the bagged waste on the curb next to their gray bins on their collection day.

To protect ESD drivers and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, the department is no longer allowing drivers to exit their vehicles to collect the extra, bagged trash placed on the curb.

CUSTOMERS SHOULD AVOID PLACING EXTRA BAGGED TRASH ON THE CURB. ONLY TRASH PLACED INSIDE A GRAY TRASH BIN WILL BE COLLECTED.

ESD reminds customers that all trash placed inside gray trash bins should bagged to prevent the waste from falling out of the bin.

For more information, please go online.

***

***TTUHSC El Paso Student with COVID-19 Self-Isolating  (3/24/2020)

We’ve been informed that a Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso student has contracted coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) while traveling in California. The student has been self-isolating in El Paso and has not been on the TTUHSC El Paso campus or in any affiliated clinics since their return to El Paso.

TTUHSC El Paso leadership is in direct communication with the student to help them through this challenging time. Our top priority remains focused on the safety and security of our campus community.

We encourage everyone to engage in proper sanitary practices such as frequently washing their hands, and cleaning surfaces in which they come into frequent contact. We also encourage everyone to practice smart social-distancing practices, such as maintaining a six-foot distance between individuals and avoiding large gatherings.

The El Paso Department of Public Health is also communicating with our student and the people they were in contact with.

For more information about TTUHSC El Paso’s response to COVID-19, click here.

***

***City Offers New Hotline to Field COVID-19 Questions (3/24/2020)

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) is now offering information about COVID-19 via (915) 212-6843 or (915) 21-COVID.

The hotline will be operational effective immediately from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

This new system will allow the 2-1-1 Texas call center to focus on referrals to services for those impacted by business closures and unemployment.

“This new hotline will be focused on answering questions about the disease itself and critical information regarding the COVID-19 impact to the members of our community,” said Ruth Castillo, DPH Preparedness Manager.

Local call takers will be up-to-date with information tailored to the El Paso Region. Callers will have the option to speak to someone in either English or Spanish and a language line is also available to translate more than 240 languages via this new number.

For more information, visit www.EPStrong.org.

***

***El Paso County Sheriff’s Office issues new guidelines regarding contact with citizens (3/24/2020)

In accordance with the Stay Home, Work Safe order by County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office will implement the following changes to limit Sheriff’s Office personnel/Citizen contact.

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY

Online Reporting

Calls for service received that are not “in progress” and do not require a Deputy to be on scene, will be referred to complete their reports online. Reports can be filed Online.

Fingerprinting

Members of the public who require fingerprints are asked to adhere to these hours and plan accordingly. Walk-ins for this purpose are no longer permitted.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (noon).
Location: 3850 Justice Dr., El Paso, TX 79938.

Office of Evidence and Property/ Abandoned Motor Vehicle Section

The Sheriff’s Office is requesting citizens to contact the Office via telephone when asking to retrieve any personal property currently in Sheriff’s Office possession. This would specifically be any property or vehicle that has been stored by the Sheriff’s Office for either evidence or safekeeping.

Members of the public are encouraged to contact the following numbers to make an appointment to retrieve their property and/or vehicle. Walk-ins for this purpose will not be permitted at this time.

Public Affairs – 3850 Justice Dr. El Paso, Texas 79938 – www.EPCSO.org 

El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Evidence and Property Section

The public should call 915-538-2283 to schedule an appointment.
The hours of retrieval are: Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Location: 3850 Justice Dr., El Paso, TX 79938.

El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Abandoned Motor Vehicle Section

The public should call 915-538-2007 to schedule an appointment.
The hours of retrieval are: Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Location: 12501 Montana Ave. Unit F., El Paso, TX 79938.

***

***2020 Spaceport America Cup Cancelled  (3/24/2020)

Spaceport America and the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA) have made the difficult decision to cancel the fourth annual Spaceport America Cup that was scheduled for June 16 – 20, 2020 at Spaceport America.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision was made based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for canceling large events in order to keep the students, spectators and sponsors safe and healthy. The event was set to engage over 1,700 college students from 17 countries on a week- long rocket design and launch competition.

“Having groups of students working together to build their team’s rocket is contrary to the COVID-19 protocol released by the CDC, and the State of New Mexico’s proactive leadership on this issue,” explained Dan Hicks, CEO of Spaceport America. “As much as we looked forward to having 154 universities participate, it is not the appropriate course of action at this time.”

“We are aware that this is incredibly disappointing news for the students, the universities, the communities of Sierra and Doña Ana Counties and our sponsors,” Hicks added. “It is important that the students respect and abide by their state and country guidelines for the health and safety of all.”

Last year, the 2019 Spaceport America Cup had 124 teams, 1,500 students, and representatives from 14 countries. The University of Washington took first place in the Spaceport America Cup, and the University of New Mexico won the inaugural Spaceport America Chile Cup.

Information on the 2021 Spaceport America Cup and possible actions with the 2020 Cup will be available at via this link.

***

***TTUHSC El Paso talks breaking the chain of infection: Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 (3/24/2020)

The main ways the public can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are at the personal level, said Armando Meza, M.D., chief of infectious diseases and associate academic dean of graduate medical education at the TTUHSC El Paso Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.

This includes hand washing, social distancing, self-quarantines and preparing your home for possible COVID-19 exposure.

One of the simplest ways people can help prevent the virus’ spread is by thoroughly washing their hands.

“If you’re going to wash your hands with soap and water, you can use regular soap and tap water,” Dr. Meza said. “You want to spend at least 20 seconds washing your hands and covering all the surfaces as much as possible. When you dry your hands, use a dry towel or paper towel, making sure that all surfaces are dry before you touch any object. It is important that once you have shut off the faucet, or anything on the sink, that you don’t touch those surfaces again, as they may be contaminated.”

Another way people can reduce the possibility of infection is through social distancing.

“Social distancing is the action government health departments take in asking the public to avoid exposure to an infectious agent,” Dr. Meza said. “That includes limiting activities that are not essential to our lives. We may be invited or given the opportunity to go places with a large gathering of people. If we avoid that, it would be very helpful.”

Self-quarantine measures will become necessary if a person has been exposed to someone infected with COVID-19. Self-quarantine is the voluntary isolation, usually at home, of a person after potential exposure to an infectious agent. An example is staying home after returning from a trip to a high-risk country classified as a Travel Warning Level 3 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“Two weeks is currently the recommended time to self-quarantine,” Dr. Meza said. “To stay in quarantine, essentials such as water, food and personal-care items should be available during this time period. In your home, stay away from any family members that may be at high risk for severe infection, such as the elderly or anyone with lung or heart disease.”

Dr. Meza emphasizes that preparedness on a personal level is key.

“Most importantly, stay educated on this condition by regularly reviewing reliable information found on the CDC website,” Dr. Meza said. “Avoid overstocking of supplies, since this will create a shortage crisis in the community. You should also keep your home clean, especially your kitchen and bathroom. Use of commercially available antimicrobial towels and sprays is appropriate.”

For more information on COVID-19, answers to frequently asked questions and helpful resources, visit TTUHSC El Paso’s COVID-19 website.

***

***Capstone Production’s Heritage Gold TV  series on El Paso history now available free, online. (3/24/2020)

Capstone Productions has announced that the Heritage Gold TV series has been released to the public for free viewing via the El Paso History TV YouTube page , providing a valuable educational and entertaining resource for children and adults during the coronavirus emergency.

“El Paso history is free on our YouTube channel, with more than 120 TV programs and segments about El Paso history,” said Jackson Polk, producer of the history segments. “We worked for two decades to produce our very popular DVDs about El Paso history that were sold in stores. Now is the time to make them available for home schooling and general viewing at no cost to the public.”

The free release of the TV documentaries will provide a fun, entertaining and educational way for El Pasoans to learn about their hometown’s rich history and cultural heritage, topics that are not generally taught in public schools. Most adults do not know about El Paso history, and this will be a time to join their children in learning about the amazing history of El Paso over the centuries.

PODCASTS FREE ONLINE

There is more history to access for free from the archives of “The El Paso History Radio Show” online at www.EPHistory.com .  The radio shows airs live each Saturday from 10 a.m.-noon on KTSM AM 690. The archived podcasts are free for listening, with a wide range of topics covering history in the El Paso area.

VIDEO PLAYLIST

Click here  for the video playlists.  Titles include “Legends of El Paso’s Mountains,” “El Paso’s Hueco Tanks,” “Gunfights of the Old West,” “Mexican Revolution Sites in El Paso,” for a dozen Heritage Gold titles online. There are also 16 “El Paso History TV” segments that were broadcast in El Paso.  More documentary programs will be announced every few days in the next six weeks.

RADIO SHOW PODCASTS

Go to www.EPHistory.com for the radio show archives.

***

***City: Coronavirus cases now at 10 (3/23/2020)

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) reported its seventh positive case for the County of El Paso. This latest case involves a woman in her 50s who has domestic travel history. She is currently self-isolating and recovering at home.

Three additional individuals were tested elsewhere, but reside in El Paso. The individuals are currently self-isolating and recovering at home bringing the total of El Paso residents with COVID-19 to ten people.

The Public Health Laboratory, which conducts tests for the region, has tested approximately 123 specimen as of Sunday, March 22.

The laboratory reported one positive test for a person residing in New Mexico, and has advised the New Mexico Department of Health. Fort Bliss conducts and declares its own tests for COVID-19.

The public is reminded that COVID-19 is not an airborne disease like measles. It is spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouth or nose of people who are nearby or possibly inhaled into the lungs.

Preliminary information about COVID-19 shows that about 80 percent of cases are mild and most people do not need hospitalization. However, older adults and people with underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes are at a greater risk of complications.

DPH officials continue to urge residents to follow prevention measures and stay up-to-date with the latest information by subscribing to both the City and DPH social media platforms, and to visit www.epstrong.org for updates.

Additionally the 2-1-1 Texas Call Center is available 24/7. Callers can dial 2-1-1 and select option six for more information.

***

***UTEP offers Computer Technology Financial Support (3/23/2020)

As you are already aware, beginning Monday, March 30, 2020, all courses for the spring semester will move to remote online delivery. We understand that this transition to online learning may be a burden for some students who do not have access to a computer at home. The following two programs may help.

  • If you are a student who received financial aid for either the fall 2019 or spring 2020 semester(s) and do not currently own a computer, there may be grant assistance to help you purchase a computer, internet hotspot, or tablet so that you can access your classes and course materials. Please email a request for this grant support to: studentfinancialaid@utep.edu. Be sure to include your full name, UTEP ID#, and a reliable phone number. We will contact you regarding your eligibility for grant assistance.
  • If you are not currently receiving financial aid, but still need assistance to purchase a computer, the Paydirt Emergency Loan Program is available to assist students. The maximum loan amount is $500. You can apply for this loan by emailinggchairez@utep.edu to request your personalized online application link.

All of us at UTEP remain committed to ensuring that every student finishes the semester without disrupting their educational progress. If you have any questions, please call the Office of Student Financial Aid at 915-747-5204.

***

***Workforce Solutions Borderplex Closes All Centers – Virtual Services Continue (3/23/2020)

In response to concerns of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Workforce Solutions Borderplex (WSB) announces that all job centers will be closing effective Tuesday, March 24th.

All centers will be closed to the public and resource rooms will no longer be available for internet, printing and computer access.

WSB is still eager to assist with case management and job assistance, but all support will be handled virtually.  For more information, please call 915-887-2600 or visit the WSB resource website for continuous updates online.

Jobseekers should register at Work in Texas by creating a profile and then searching and applying for jobs at www.WorkInTexas.com.

WSB offers a Workforce Guidance Video and Frequently Asked Questions download to assist those with questions. Click here to view the video or here to read the FAQ

***

***Local restaurateurs opens fund to assist food and beverage workers (3/23/2020)

Local food and beverage workers are among the first to be hurt by the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But help is coming thanks to a group of local restaurateurs.

“Restaurants, bars and coffee shops are inherently social places, so guidance from health authorities to limit exposure to crowds and to practice social distancing hit us all hard,” said Maggie Asfahani, who owns Salt + Honey Bakery Café in Five Points.

“We were already hurting, but the executive order that restaurants close their dining rooms forced many restaurants, including mine, to temporarily close and lay off the employees who are the backbone of our business.”

Asfahani is leading a group of local service industry volunteers who have established the El Paso Food and Beverage Workers Fund within the Paso del Norte Community Foundation.

The fund will provide direct relief to food and beverage workers who have been laid off or are working significantly reduced hours due to a temporary closure as a result of the pandemic.

To read the entire story, click here.  To donate, visit this website.

***

*** City of Socorro closes lobbies to the public (3/23/2020)

The City of Socorro in cooperation with Governor Abbott & County Judge Ricardo Samaniego to combat the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) will be closing all City Lobbies & Offices to the public beginning Wednesday, March 25, 2020, until further notice.

The Public may receive assistance Monday through Friday 8 AM – 5 PM through:

The Socorro Municipal Court has suspended all courts until further notice, and all citations may be paid:

• Credit/Debit: Over the phone at (915) 872-8574
• Money Orders (include your contact information with Name, Phone

Number Address, and Citation Number) mailed to:

Municipal Courts
860 N. Rio Vista
Socorro, TX 79927

PLEASE CONTINUE TO REPORT EMERGENCIES BY CALLING 9-1-1 During this time all essential City services will continue to be provided.

Lastly, the City would like to remind everyone to stay safe by following the guidelines set in place by our health authorities. https://www.dshs.texas.gov
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html

***

***NM Gov issues statewide ‘stay-at-home’ order to start Tuesday, March 24th at 8a (3/23/2020)

Monday afternoon, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that she issued an order that suspends operations of all businesses and non-profits that are deemed “non-essential.”  Below is the full order:

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday announced additional restrictions to disrupt the spread of the COVID-19 virus in New Mexico and instructed New Mexicans to remain in their homes or places of residence except for outings absolutely necessary for health, safety and welfare.

The order — to be issued by Secretary of Health Kathy Kunkel and effective 8 a.m. Tuesday, March 24 — closes all non-essential businesses, requiring 100 percent of the state’s non-essential workforce to work from home. As in other states that have enacted similar measures, there are exceptions pertaining to essential services for the preservation of health, safety and well-being.

“The only way for us to stop the spread of this virus is for New Mexicans to stop interacting with each other,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “New Mexicans must be crystal-clear on this point: Right now, every time you leave your house, you are putting yourself, your family and your community at risk. Only by distancing from one another, by remaining home except for essential or emergency travel, can we limit the spread of this virus to the point that it does not overwhelm New Mexico.

“This clearly exempts people who are part of the essential functions that must continue: The individuals providing meals for kids at our schools; the individuals working at health care facilities, child care facilities, public safety entities and many more. Those individuals are helping keep us operating — in a new and limited way. They deserve our profound gratitude.

“As we wait for the federal government to get states the help we need in expanding capacity and testing materials and financial assistance, staying home is the one action all of us, individually and as a group, can control,” the governor added. “Please stay home. Help protect New Mexico.”

Intended to aggressively limit person-to-person contact in the state, the amended emergency public health order closes all non-essential businesses except for remote work.

The order advises that New Mexicans “must stay at home and undertake only those outings absolutely necessary for their health, safety or welfare” and further restricts “mass gatherings” of five or more individuals in outdoor spaces.

“Does this order mean you cannot walk your dog? No. Does it mean you can’t go for a jog? No. But you should not do those things in a group — and you should be home as soon as possible,” the governor said. “This social isolation strategy will only work if we all undertake it to the greatest extent we can. That boils down to one thing: Stay home.”

Businesses deemed essential that may remain open are:

  • Health care operations including hospitals, walk-in-care health facilities, emergency veterinary and livestock services, pharmacies, medical wholesale and distribution, home health care workers or aides for the elderly, emergency dental facilities, nursing homes, residential health care facilities, research facilities, congregate care facilities, intermediate care facilities for those with intellectual or developmental disabilities, supportive living homes, home health care providers, and medical supplies and equipment manufacturers and providers;
  • Homeless shelters, food banks, and other services providing care to indigent or needy populations;
  • Childcare facilities necessary to provide services to those workers employed by essential businesses and essential non-profit entities;
  • Grocery stores, all food and beverage stores, supermarkets, food banks, farmers’ markets and vendors who sell food, convenience stores, and other businesses that generate the majority of their revenue from the sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet food, feed, and other animal supply stores, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products;
  • Farms, ranches, and other food cultivation, processing, or packaging operations;
  • All facilities used by law enforcement personnel, first responders, firefighters, emergency management personnel, dispatch operators, and court personnel.
  • Infrastructure operations including, but not limited to, public works construction; commercial and residential facility construction and maintenance; airport operations; public transportation; airlines; taxis; private transportation providers; water, sewer, trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal; gas; electrical; oil drilling; oil refining; natural resources extraction or mining operations; nuclear material research and enrichment; those attendant to the repair and construction of roads and highways; solid waste collection and removal; processing and disposal; data and internet providers; data centers; and telecommunications systems;
  • Manufacturing operations involved in food processing, manufacturing agents, chemicals, fertilizer, pharmaceuticals, sanitary products, household paper products, telecommunications, microelectronics/semi-conductor, primary metals manufacturers, machinery manufacturers, electrical equipment, appliance, and component manufacturers, and transportation equipment manufacturers;
  • Services necessary to maintain the safety and sanitation of residences or essential businesses including security services, custodial services, plumbers, electricians, and other skilled trades;
  • Media services including television, radio, and newspaper operations;
  • Gas stations, automobile repair facilities, and retailers who generate the majority of their revenue from the sale of automobile repair products;
  • Hardware stores;
  • Laundromats and dry cleaner services;
  • Utilities, including their contractors and suppliers, engaged in power generation, fuel supply and transmission, water and wastewater supply;
  • Funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries;
  • Banks, credit unions, insurance providers, payroll services, brokerage services, and investment management firms;
  • Real estate services including brokers, title companies, and related services.
  • Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes;
  • Laboratories and defense and national security-related operations supporting the United States government or a contractor to the United States government;
  • Restaurants, but only for delivery or carry out and local breweries or distilleries but only for carry out;
  • Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, but only where necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities; and
  • Logistics and businesses that store, ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences or retailers.

The order is in effect until April 10.  To view the news conference, click here.

***

***Sun Metro updates routes, boarding procedures (3/23/2020)

Effective Wednesday, March 25, 2020 Sun Metro will implement service modifications in response to COVID-19. The service modifications will remain in effect until further notice.

Service adjustments are as follows:

Fixed route service will operate on a Sunday schedule Monday through Saturday  with the addition of the following:

o   Routes 19, 43, 71, 73 will run on a Saturday schedule, Monday through Saturday.

o   Brio service (Mesa, Dyer, Alameda) will run on a Saturday schedule, Monday through Saturday.

o   Routes 3 and 42 will keep peak service hours, Monday through Friday.

o   Sunday service along with routes 83 and 84 will remain unchanged.

  • Fixed route service on Sundays will operate on a Sunday schedule with no additions.
  • Streetcar service is suspended until further notice.

In line with the practice of social distancing, the following changes have also been implemented:

o   All passengers will board and exit buses through the rear doors. Boarding exceptions will be made for riders who have accessibility needs and require the use of the drop-down ramps located at the front doors.

o   All passengers are encouraged to leave two empty seats between themselves and others.

In order to accommodate rear entry and exit only (excluding exceptions noted above), Sun Metro is waiving all bus fares on Fixed Route, BRIO and LIFT services until further notice.

For more information about Sun Metro, visit sunmetro.net or call (915) 212-3333. Like their page on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @SunMetro.

***

***Curbside Meal Distribution at Senior Centers to Continue for Qualifying Senior Residents (3/23/2020)

As part of a joint meal distribution initiative by the Parks and Recreation Department and El Paso County, curbside distribution of meals will continue every Tuesday, from 10 a.m. to noon, at all City Senior Centers for seniors enrolled in the El Paso County Senior Noontime Meal Program.

The County meal program is preparing and providing five pre-packaged meals consisting of pre-packed shelf and pre-cooked frozen meals.

The meals are only available to adults 60 years-of-age and older who are currently enrolled and active in the El Paso County Senior Noontime Meal program.

Volunteers and employees with the Parks and Recreation Department are helping the El Paso County team distribute the curbside meals. The curbside pickup offers a quick, drive through option to keep seniors and volunteers safely separated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All City Senior Centers remain closed until further notice.

The El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) continues to urge residents to follow prevention measures and stay up-to-date with the latest information by subscribing to both the City and DPH social media platforms, and to visit www.epstrong.org or call dial 2-1-1 and select option six for more information.

***

*** The El Paso Community Foundation and the Cardwell Foundation have made a grant to the USO El Paso to support soldiers in mandatory quarantine.

The $60,000 grant — from the Cardwell Foundation and the Julie and Jim Cardwell Fund in the El Paso Community Foundation — will help USO El Paso support troops being placed in  mandatory quarantine upon returning from Europe, some from high-risk areas.

The gift will pay for toiletries and hygiene products, such as soap and shaving cream, snacks and other needs for the returning troops.

To read entire story, click here.

***

*** Visitor Policy Update from EPCH, THOP, LPDSH and UMC  (3/23/2020)

Joint Statement Regarding No-Visitor Policy from El Paso Children’s Hospital, The Hospitals of Providence, Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare and University Medical Center of El Paso

In an effort to protect patients, physicians, staff and the community as COVID-19 continues to spread within our community, The Hospitals of Providence, Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare and University Medical Center of El Paso will implement a no-visitor policy in all hospitals, beginning Monday, March 23. Our priority is to reduce the transmission risk within our sites of care.

Exceptions for The Hospitals of Providence, Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare and University Medical Center of El Paso will be made for laboring and post-partum patients; patients with disabilities or impairments or who are elderly; patients in the neonatal ICU (NICU) and pediatric units; patients requiring surgery or other emergency or trauma-related medical procedures; and patients requiring end-of-life care. One caregiver 18 years or older may accompany these patient populations; the visitor must pass our previously established health-screening criteria upon entrance into the facility. No visitors will be allowed to wait in the lobby or waiting rooms.

El Paso Children’s Hospital and Providence Children’s Hospital are limited to one parent/legal guardian at a time. Rotation of a patient’s essential parent/legal guardian should be limited to minimize any potential risk. Again, everyone must pass previously established health-screening criteria before entering the facility. No additional visitors will be allowed to wait in the lobby or waiting rooms. Anyone entering the facility will be asked if they have symptoms of illness and exposure risks upon arrival. Those who have non-severe symptoms such as a fever or cough will be asked to not enter to stop the spread of illness and to seek care from their physician.

While we understand the importance of having the support of loved ones during a hospital visit or stay, we must prioritize the health and safety of our patients and caregivers during this unprecedented pandemic. We encourage support persons to use alternate methods of communication to stay in contact with loved ones, such as phone calls, video chats or texting.

We will continue to modify our response protocols as the needs within our community evolve.

Everyone should continue taking the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Avoid contact with sick people
  • Avoid large crowds
  • Practice social distancing

If you are concerned that you’ve been exposed or have a general question about COVID-19, contact the El Paso County Health Department by calling 211 and choosing option 6.

***

***UTEP President Heather Wilson release letter to college staff (3/23/2020)

Colleagues,

While I hope all of you took some time to recharge over the weekend, I’m sure many of you monitored the continued news about COVID-19.

There are over 200 counties in Texas that have no cases of COVID-19 and the Governor has not ordered a statewide shelter-in-place order. Dallas is in a very different situation, with a major international air travel hub and more than a third of all of the cases in Texas. Every community and University is different and the state is supporting local decision making based on the circumstances in each community.

Having talked to local officials on Sunday, there is no evidence of community spread in El Paso, and the public seems to be acting responsibly with respect to congregation and social distancing. The few currently identified cases were people who contracted the disease elsewhere and traveled here or reside in the same household with those who did. At the same time, we all know that there is skepticism because of delays in testing and receiving results from testing which justify continued measures to keep people at home if they don’t have to leave home.

Early prevention efforts are important, and the decisions to prohibit large gatherings, close bars, and encourage working remotely to the maximum extent possible are prudent.

We’ve canceled face-to-face classes this week to give faculty the time to shift to distance delivery of their courses. Even small class sections will be shifted to online format. For labs and performance courses, faculty are identifying creative ways that students might gain and demonstrate competencies without being together on campus.

Whether it is a work day or not, every employee should be observing social distancing guidance, washing your hands regularly, avoiding social situations with more than 10 people and avoiding crowds.

While faculty are used to working from home and can do so quite easily, it is not always so easy for staff. In some cases, our staff who are paid hourly are in jobs that might be almost impossible to shift to remote work. That is why I want us to make prudent decisions on a case-by-case basis and give supervisors and employees flexibility.

We continue to monitor the situation in El Paso County and take actions every day that make sense to protect the health of students, faculty and staff and help reduce any impact on our healthcare system.

While we monitor the situation constantly, UTEP will continue to exercise the following guidance:

Remote Work: Vice Presidents in consultation with direct reports should actively identify maximum ways employees can work remotely in your areas – with priority for vulnerable populations – while continuing the mission. As many employees as possible should be working from home. Some disruption or confusion is likely and offices that are open will have fewer employees. If student employees can work remotely, they should be allowed to do so.

Length of Day: Offices are authorized to lengthen opening hours in circumstances where the work must be done on campus in order to reduce social interaction while allowing all employees to get their jobs done at staggered times.

Consolidation: For offices that provide face-to-face service, supervisors will assess whether that service can be provided while observing social distancing guidance. Supervisors may consolidate offices or go completely online or distance enabled even if there is a disruption in service with the approval of their Vice President. Not all offices on campus need to have their doors open this week. The request form to work remotely is here.

Public health guidelines: All offices and employees will follow best practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including social distancing, handwashing, and staying at home when sick. Employees should also stay at home if a household member is sick.

It’s an anxious time. Keep helping each other. There are resources for you, as an employee, as well here.

Finally, I wanted to thank all of you for taking the situation we face seriously and taking appropriate actions to keep yourself, your colleagues and our students safe and healthy.

Heather Wilson

President

***

***Fort Bliss releases official statement on three New York City Army Reserve members with COVID-19 (3/23/2020)

On March 22, William Beaumont Army Medical Center personnel confirmed an Army Reserve soldier assigned to the 77th Human Resources Company out of New York City tested positive for COVID-19.  The soldier was in close contact with two of the soldiers from the same unit who were confirmed COVID-19 positive by William Beaumont Army Medical Center personnel.

As a precautionary measure, the remainder of the Army Reserve unit was placed into quarantine on March 20 to prevent further potential spread of the virus.  All four soldiers who were confirmed COVID-19 positive are in isolation at Fort Bliss.

Fort Bliss leadership continues to work with installation and local community medical health professionals as part of the response efforts in the local area to ensure the health and safety of all.

***

***Vitalant: Canceled blood drives, Coronavirus fears severely impact blood supply (3/23/2020)

Coronavirus responses have severely impacted the U.S. blood supply as Vitalant and other blood centers across the country are struggling to maintain stable inventories and avoid a critical blood shortage.

With school closures and workers at home, 25% of Vitalant’s blood collections anticipated in March have disappeared—almost overnight. And that number continues to grow.

Through the end of June, Vitalant—the nation’s second largest blood collector—has had over 1,400 blood drives canceled, resulting in nearly 41,000 uncollected blood donations.

Many state and local governments have barred people from leaving their homes, except for essential functions. FEMA has specifically identified blood donation as an “essential and integral component of the emergency support function” as ongoing guidance from government entities recommend that people avoid gatherings and practice social distancing, and, in some states, “shelter in place”. But blood drives are not gatherings: they are blood donation operations that are key to our public health and safety.

To read the entire story, click here.

***

*** Governor Greg Abbott addressed Texans Sunday Afternoon, announcing new numbers, as well as actions by the state to combat the virus. (3/22/2020)

Governor Abbott addressed the state, updating the numbers of positive cases within the state, as well as the number of deaths and those who have been tested.

As of Sunday, six deaths have been reported in Texas; with almost 8700 Texans having been tested for COVID-19

Texas Department of State Health Service officials released a statement updating the number of people statewide that tested positive for the virus to 334 – up from 304 on Saturday.

Abbott also announced new action to increase the number of available nurses to help during the crisis, allowing retired or inactive nurses to reactivate their licenses.

For the issues of supplies, the governor announced additional adding staff that would be tasked to to find global sources of personal protection equipment, as well other supplies needed to combat the spread of the virus.

The governor also issued two Executive Orders, one postpone all “not medically necessary” surgeries at hospitals and the second suspending hospital regulations to increase capacity,  allowing hospitals treat more than one patient in a room.

Additionally, the recently-activated Texas National Guard would be deployed this week for use in testing locations, and helping in setting up healthcare facilities where needed.

As for a possible ‘Shelter in Place’ order for the entire state, the governor said that the effectiveness of his first Executive Orders from last week would be evaluated before any change would take place.  He pointed out that the ‘vast majority’ of the 254 counties in Texas did not have any cases of Coronavirus.

“The public knows that cases of COVID-19 are increasing in places like Dallas, in Houston, in Austin, and several other urban areas,” Gov. Abbott added. “…what may be right for places like the large urban areas may not be right at this particular point in time for the more than 200 counties, that have zero cases of COVID-19.”

He added that local officials have the authority to implement stricter standards if they choose to do so.

Click here to view the Governor’s full statement.

***

*** Clint ISD Prepared for Remote Learning Beginning March 24 (3/22/2020)

Clint ISD schools and buildings remain closed through April 3 due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. However, we are committed to continue to provide the quality education our parents and community has come to expect from Clint ISD.

Four years ago, Clint ISD invested in the 1:1 Device Initiative to provide every student with an iPad, Chromebook or laptop. This has allowed Clint ISD to create a robust remote learning plan for every student in Pre-K through 12th grade so learning can continue for students during the current district closure.  In addition, Clint ISD has purchased 5,000 hotspots to assist our families with Internet access.

On Monday, March 23, Clint ISD teachers and schools will begin contacting students and parents to determine technology needs and provide support as students prepare to learn from home. On Tuesday, March 24, students will begin the Clint ISD Remote Learning Plan through Friday, April 3.

Parents may access their child’s daily learning schedule and assignments, as well as information on free lunches, technology needs, and contact information on our District website, www.clintweb.net, and on school websites.

If parents need assistance, they can contact their child’s teacher or district personnel for assistance and support between 8 am to 3 pm.

***

*** NM Department of Health announces 2 more cases in Dona Ana County; Statewide total now at 65  (3/22/2020)

SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Sunday announced eight additional positive tests for COVID-19.  Per the state Department of Health, the most recent cases are:

Two new cases in Doña Ana County:

  • ​A female in her 50s.
  • A female in her 20s.

Two new cases in Bernalillo County:

  • A female in her 60s.
  • A male in his 30s.

One  new case in McKinley County:

  • ​A male 9 years old.

One new case in San Juan County:

  • ​A male in his 50s.

Two new cases in Santa Fe County:

  • ​A male in his 30s.
  • A male in his 40s.

Including the above newly reported cases, New Mexico has now had a total of 65 positive tests for COVID-19:

  • Bernalillo County: 34
  • Doña Ana County: 4
  • Lea County: 1
  • McKinley County: 2
  • Sandoval County: 7
  • San Juan County: 1
  • San Miguel County: 1
  • Santa Fe County: 10
  • ​​Socorro County: 2
  • Taos County: 3

The Department of Health has detected community spread. The agency reports that given the infectious nature of the virus it is likely other residents are infected but yet to be tested or confirmed positive. To that end, additional restrictions enacted by order of the secretary of health Thursday are intended to aggressively minimize person-to-person contact and ensure spread is mitigated by social distancing and isolation. Certain businesses are mandated closed; others have been instructed to limit operations. New Mexicans are strongly urged to limit travel to only what is necessary for health, safety and welfare.

The New Mexico Department of Health has active investigations into the positive patients, which includes contact-tracing and swabs of symptomatic individuals who have had contact with the positive cases.

State officials have vigorously encouraged all New Mexicans to practice social distancing procedures: stay home, particularly if you are sick.

Every New Mexican must work together to stem the spread of COVID-19.

New Mexicans who report symptoms of COVID-19 infection, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should call their health care provider or the NMDOH COVID-19 hotline immediately (1-855-600-3453).

People without those symptoms do not need to be tested for COVID-19. This is allergy season, and allergy symptoms such as sneezing or itchy eyes, nose or throat do not indicate a need for testing. While the state is gratified that COVID-19 testing is increasingly available, we need to prioritize testing for persons with symptoms of COVID-19 infection – fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

New Mexicans who have non-health-related questions or concerns can also call 833-551-0518 or visit newmexico.gov, which is being updated and finalized as a one-stop source for information.

The state Department of Health will update its dedicated COVID-19 webpage with additional tests as the state lab provides results.

***

***Two additional soldiers at Fort Bliss test positive for Coronavirus; total stands at 3 on post (3/21/2020)

On March 20, William Beaumont Army Medical Center personnel had confirmed an Army Reserve Soldier assigned to the 77th Human Resources Company out of New York City, tested positive for COVID-19.

As a precautionary measure, the remainder of the Army Reserve unit was placed into quarantine to prevent further potential spread of the virus.

Today, two of the original Soldier’s roommates from the same unit have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. All three Soldiers are in isolation at Fort Bliss.

Fort Bliss leadership continues to work with installation and local community medical health professionals as part of the response efforts in the local area to ensure the health and safety of all.

***

***El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Community Services Section, Precinct 6 Constables, Operation H.O.P.E pass out food  (3/21/2020)

On Saturday, March 21, 2020, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Community Services Section and Constables from Precinct 6 assisted Operation H.O.P.E during their emergency food giveaway at the El Paso County Coliseum.

The drive-thru event allowed for deputies, constables, and volunteers to distribute the food baskets while families remained inside their vehicles.

Operation H.O.P.E. in partnership with the Rock Center, Mayor Oscar Leeser, Sheriff Wiles and the Sheriff’s Office distributed 750 food baskets to help the El Paso community during these difficult times.

To view the full album from the giveaway, click on this link.

***

***Workforce Solutions Borderplex announces immediate job opportunities (3/21/2020)

 Workforce Solutions Borderplex (WSB) is eager to share a variety of job opportunities available in the Borderplex area.  Jobseekers should register at Work in Texas by creating a profile and then searching and applying for jobs at www.WorkInTexas.com.

Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is looking to fill at least 10 Temporary Customer Service Rep II positions at the West Texas Tele Center at 1359 Lomaland Drive.  These positions are critical to assist Texans with their unemployment claims.

Over 500 positions are available with several different businesses listed below.

  • Albertsons
  • Alorica
  • Dona Ana County Detention Center
  • Lowe’s (cashiers, delivery drivers, sales positions and overnight supervisors)
  • RoofToppers El Paso
  • Sky Transportation
  • Spartan Construction
  • U.S. Census
  • Valley Super Market
  • Vista Supermarkets
  • Walmart

For more information, jobseekers can call 915-887-2600.  Businesses looking to hire can call 915-887-2332.  Additional resources for those affected by the COVID-19 crisis can be found at the Borderplex jobs website.

***

***El Pasoans Fighting Hunger to open ‘Mega Pantries’ staring Monday, March 23 (3/21/2020)

Officials with El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank (EPFH) announced new distribution sites around the city, as the organization is experiencing a unique demand for emergency food boxes from individuals and families in need of assistance.

“To meet the evolving needs due to the spread of COVID-19 – coronavirus –  EPFH has teamed up with local partner agencies to set-up Mega Pantry distribution sites throughout El Paso starting Monday, March 23, 2020.”

The distribution schedule will be Monday through Friday from 10AM-2PM at the following locations:

Northeast – Katie’s Pantry – 4801 Sun Valley

Central – Kelly Center for Hunger Relief – 915 N. Florence

Lower Valley – Camino de Vida – 7822 San Jose Rd.

Socorro/Clint/San Elizario – El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank – 9541 Plaza Circle

Starting Tuesday, March 24, 2020

West – Abundant Living Faith Center West – 7100 N. Desert Blvd.

~~To read the complete story, click here~~

***

***Bishop Seitz, priests climb Cristo Rey in prayer for quick end to Coronavirus pandemic (3/21/2020)

On Saturday, Bishop Mark Seitz, along with a small cohort of priests from around the Diocese of El Paso climbed up Mt. Cristo Rey in prayer for the El Paso community for a quick end to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

6 priests and one Seminarian along with Bishop Mark Seitz, climbed to the summit of Mt. Cristo Rey on Saturday morning.  Photos below courtesy Diocese of El Paso/Facebook

***

*** Streetcar Service suspended to Protect Public from Evolving COVID-19 (3/21/2020)

Effective Sunday, March 22, 2020 the El Paso Streetcar will suspend all operations in response to COVID-19.  The service modifications will remain in effect until further notice.

As a reminder, Sun Metro will be waiving all bus fares starting Sunday, March 22, 2020. Fixed Route, BRIO and LIFT services will offer free rides until further notice; Other recently announced service adjustments include:

  • In line with the practice of social distancing, the following changes will be implemented:

o   All passengers will board and exit buses through the rear doors. Boarding exceptions will be made for riders who have accessibility needs and require the use of the drop-down ramps located at the front doors.

o   All passengers are encouraged to leave two empty seats between themselves and others.

o   Effective Monday March 30, 2020 the Fixed Route, Brio and the LIFT will run on a Saturday schedule Monday through Saturday. Sunday routes will continue to operate on a Sunday schedule.

For more information about Sun Metro, visit sunmetro.net or call (915) 212-3333. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/sunmetro or follow us on Twitter @SunMetro.

***

*** 2nd Case of Coronavirus found in Dona Ana County, Statewide count now at 57 (3/21/2020)

SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Saturday announced fourteen additional positive tests for COVID-19, including the 2nd case in Dona Ana County.
Per the state Department of Health, the most recent cases are:
9 new cases in Bernalillo County:
  • A female in her 70s
  • A female in her 60s
  • Two males in their 40s
  • Two males in their 30s
  • A female in her 30s
  • A female in her 20s
  • A male infant
1 new case in Doña Ana County:
  • ​A female in her 20s
1 new case in Lea County:
  • ​A male in his 70s
1 new case in Sandoval County:
  • ​A female in her 40s
1 new case in Santa Fe County:
  • ​A male in his 50s
1 new case in Taos County:
  • ​A female in her 50s
Including the above newly reported cases, New Mexico has now had a total of 57 positive tests for COVID-19:
  • Bernalillo County: 32
  • Doña Ana County: 2
  • Lea County: 1
  • McKinley County: 1
  • Sandoval County: 7
  • San Miguel County: 1
  • Santa Fe County: 8
  • ​​Socorro County: 2
  • Taos County: 3
The Department of Health has detected community spread. The agency reports that given the infectious nature of the virus it is likely other residents are infected but yet to be tested or confirmed positive. To that end, additional restrictions enacted by order of the secretary of health Thursday are intended to aggressively minimize person-to-person contact and ensure spread is mitigated by social distancing and isolation. Certain businesses are mandated closed; others have been instructed to limit operations. New Mexicans are strongly urged to limit travel to only what is necessary for health, safety and welfare.
The New Mexico Department of Health has active investigations into the positive patients, which includes contact-tracing and swabs of symptomatic individuals who have had contact with the positive cases.
State officials have vigorously encouraged all New Mexicans to practice social distancing procedures: stay home, particularly if you are sick.
Every New Mexican must work together to stem the spread of COVID-19.
New Mexicans who report symptoms of COVID-19 infection, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should call their health care provider or the NMDOH COVID-19 hotline immediately (1-855-600-3453).
People without those symptoms do not need to be tested for COVID-19. This is allergy season, and allergy symptoms such as sneezing or itchy eyes, nose or throat do not indicate a need for testing. While the state is gratified that COVID-19 testing is increasingly available, we need to prioritize testing for persons with symptoms of COVID-19 infection – fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
New Mexicans who have non-health-related questions or concerns can also call 833-551-0518 or visit newmexico.gov, which is being updated and finalized as a one-stop source for information.
The state Department of Health will update its dedicated COVID-19 webpage with additional tests as the state lab provides results.

***

***Sun Metro Notice of COVID-19 Service Changes; Free Rides, Schedule Modifications Programmed (3/21/2020)

In response to COVID-19, Sun Metro will be waiving all bus fares starting Sunday, March 22, 2020

Fixed Route, BRIO and LIFT services will offer free rides until further notice; Streetcar will continue to waive fees as well. Other service adjustments include:

 In line with the practice of social distancing, the following changes will be implemented:

o   All passengers will board and exit buses through the rear doors. Boarding exceptions will be made for riders who have accessibility needs and require the use of the drop-down ramps located at the front doors.

o   All passengers are encouraged to leave two empty seats between themselves and others.

Effective Monday March 30, the following service changes will be implemented:

o   Fixed Route, Brio and the LIFT will run on a Saturday schedule Monday through Saturday. Sunday routes will continue to operate on a Sunday schedule.

o   The El Paso Streetcar will operate on a Sunday schedule the entire week.

For more information about Sun Metro, visit sunmetro.net or call (915) 212-3333. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/sunmetro or follow us on Twitter @SunMetro.

***

***Police Implement Modifications in Response to COVID-19 Threat (3/20/2020)

In an effort to address on-going concerns surrounding the presence of COVID-19 in the El Paso Police area, the El Paso Police Department is implementing modifications to our response protocols.

Dispatchers will now ask health and travel related questions to individuals requesting Police response. Dispatchers may provide callers with specific instructions regarding their interactions with Police, to include maintaining a social distance of at least six feet from officers.

Citizens are strongly encouraged to utilize on-line and telephone reporting options to file Police reports when Police response is not paramount.

The El Paso Police Department will continue to provide the same high quality service that has exemplified our department for decades.

We ask for the public’s patience and cooperation in our effort to maintain the safety of both citizens and officers in this trying time.

Police Non-Emergency: 915-832-4400
Telephone Reporting: 915-832-4436
On-line Reporting via this link

***

***First case of Coronavirus found at Fort Bliss (3/20/2020)

Friday night, officials with William Beaumont Army Medical Center confirmed that a soldier at Fort Bliss has tested positive for the coronavirus.

According to WBAMC officials, the soldier is assigned to the 77th Human Resources Company, part of an Army Reserve unit from New York City, at the post for training.

The soldier is now in isolation at the post.

This is the first confirmed case of the virus at Fort Bliss, along with six other cases confirmed in the El Paso area.

***

***New Restrictions for Cross-border Travel at El Paso Ports of Entry (3/20/2020)

To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, El Paso Mayor Dee Margo is supporting a decision by the federal government to limit travel along land ports of entry connecting the United States and Mexico to “essential travel.”

“We are one region dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic; therefore, it is imperative that as a region we restrict unnecessary travel and personal contact,” Margo said. “At this time I believe the Federal limitations applied to our bridges will still allow for commerce and essential business to be conducted.”

Homeland Security plans to restrict travel into the United States through land ports along the U.S-Mexico border to “essential travel.” The restrictions will begin at 11:59 p.m. EST on March 20, 2020 and will remain in place until April 20, 2020.

“Essential travel” includes (but is not limited to):

  • U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the United States
  • Individuals traveling for medical purposes (e.g., to receive medical treatment in the United States)
  • Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions
  • Individuals traveling to work in the United States (e.g., individuals working in the farming or agriculture industry who must travel between the United States and Mexico in furtherance of such work)
  • Individuals traveling for emergency response and public health purposes (e.g., government officials or emergency responders entering the United States to support Federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial government efforts to respond to COVID-19 or other emergencies)
  • Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (e.g., truck drivers supporting the movement of cargo between the United States and Mexico)
  • Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the spouses and children of members of the U.S.
  • Armed Forces, returning to the United States
  • Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations

The following travel does not fall within the definition of “essential travel” for purposes of this Notification:

  • Individuals traveling for tourism purposes (e.g., sightseeing, recreation, gambling, or attending cultural events).

The City of El Paso manages southbound lanes at the Paso Del Norte, Stanton and Ysleta/Zaragoza ports of entry. The southbound lanes will continue to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

South bound lanes at the ports of entry managed by the City of El Paso remain open to travelers crossing into Juárez, Mexico. Travelers are encouraged to limit their travel into Mexcio to “essential travel,” and to stay vigilant of travel notifications issued by Mexico.

***

***1st Armored Division HQ, Fort Bliss release statement regarding on-going battle with Coronavirus  (3/20/2020)

The @USArmy along with the Division has taken steps to protect the health of our Soldiers, Families and Civilians. We are committed to the health protection of the Force as we address the challenge of COVID19 together.

***

***City Issues Amended Emergency Directive to Reduce Spread of COVID-19 (3/20/2020)

On Friday the City of El Paso amended the City’s emergency directive in accordance with guidelines issued by the state and federal government, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The following order will go into effective at 11:59 p.m. tonight, March 20, and will remain in effect until April 3, 2020:

  • Order No. 1: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, every person in Texas shall avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.
  • Order No. 2: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, people shall avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts, or visiting gyms or massage parlors; provided, however, that the use of drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options is allowed and highly encouraged throughout the limited duration of this executive order.
  • Order No. 3: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, people shall not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
  • Order No. 4: In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, schools shall temporarily close.

The directive does not prohibit the public from visiting a variety of places, including grocery stores, gas stations, parks and banks, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

For offices and workplaces that remain open, employees should practice good hygiene and, where feasible, work from home in order to achieve optimum social distancing.

For more information visit www.epstrong.org or www.EPHealth.com and click on the COVID-19 page.

***

***EPCC will close all facilities starting at midnight, Friday March 20th (3/20/2020)

As per Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order intended to further contain the spread of COVID-19 across Texas, El Paso Community College (EPCC) will close its facilities beginning midnight March 20th through midnight April 3rd.

College Administrators will be on duty via distance technology. There will also be limited essential staff on-site to ensure critical college operations continue. These are in the process of being determined. Employees should not report for duty unless they are contacted by their supervisor. Employees who are able may perform their duties via technology from home after consulting with their supervisor.

As previously announced, all courses will be taught online via Blackboard beginning March 30th. Students enrolled in labs, practicums or similar courses should contact their instructor for additional guidance and instructions. EPCC is committed to ensuring students can continue learning and finish the spring semester.

EPCC has a substantial public interest in and is committed to protecting the health and safety of our students, employees and the community. We will continue to follow guidance as directed by government and health authorities.

EPCC will continue to provide updates online, via EPCC email, social media and Tejano Alert.

***

***Municipal Court to Close for In-Person Services  (3/20/2020)

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and for the safety of the public and City of El Paso employees, the El Paso Municipal Court will be closed to the public for in-person services starting Monday, March 23, until further notice.

All court hearings, sessions and jury duty at all bond office locations will be suspended during this time. The court will reschedule and notify residents who have scheduled trials, hearings or jury appearances by mail with a new time and date.

In addition, Municipal Court activities such as Juvenile Case Management Classes, Youth Delinquency Prevention Classes, and Teen Court will be suspended.

While Municipal Court facilities remain closed, residents can still conduct business with the court online or by phone. Residents are encouraged to resolve their citation(s) through the following methods:

·        Online payments: www.citepayusa.com

·        Phone payments: (915) 212-0232

·        Online chat with a court clerk: www.elpasotexas.gov/municipal-courts

·        Email: defendants@elpasotexas.gov

Additional information including questions or concerns is available by calling the El Paso Municipal Court at (915) 212-0215 or visiting the city’s website.

***

***Fabens ISD releases update on district closure, Pickup meal service starts March 23rd (3/20/2020)

As the local situation and government response to COVID-19 continues to rapidly evolve, we are monitoring all information and making adjustments to our educational plans.

Until further notice, only essential staff will report to work on Monday, March 23, through April 3, 2020.

Supervisors will notify staff who are deemed essential staff. This is in order to complete critical functions such as payroll, food services, security, etc., so we can be able to continue serving our students, employees, and community during this difficult time.

During the weeks of school closure, Fabens ISD is committed to serving breakfast and lunch to all students and children 18 years old and younger.

Beginning March 23rd through April 3rd, excluding Saturday and Sunday, meals can be picked up curbside at the Fabens High School cafeteria from 7:30 – 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM.

Please continue to check the Fabens ISD website for updates.

***

***El Paso Comic Con (EPCON) postpones annual event until October (3/20/2020)

Friday afternoon, officials with the annual El Paso Comic Con announced the postponement of the event until October 2-4th. Below is their statement:

The producers of El Paso Comic Con continue to closely monitor the latest developments regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). In response to the growing awareness and concerns, we have decided it is in the public’s interest to move El Paso Comic Con to October 2-4, 2020 at the El Paso Convention Center.

More information about the event to come.Your tickets will be honored on the new dates. We’ll see you in October!

***

***El Paso Chihuahuas to stream virtual game(s) against Leigh High Valley IronPigs (3/20/2020)

For those residents who are missing baseball the @epchihuahuas have the cure, as they started a virtual 3 game series versus the Lehigh Valley IronPigs yesterday.   The ‘Dawgs dropped the first game at Lehigh Valley 9-2, and look to bounce back tonight.

Check out the virtual Chihuahuas as they take on @IronPigs on @Twitch at 5:05p Watch LIVE via this link.

***

***William Beaumont Army Medical Center to begin COVID-19 screening at Main Hospital Gates (3/20/2020)

Friday afternoon, officials with William Beaumont Army Medical Center released the following information via their social media pages:

***

***The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park Delays Opening (3/20/2020)

The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park announced that the hotel opening has been delayed.  A statement has been provided below.

“The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park stands in solidarity with our country’s current stance on social distancing and the preventative measures needed to stop the spread of COVID-19. At this time, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to postpone our reopening to a date later this spring. Our entire hotel team stands behind this decision as it is our responsibility to act in the best interest of our employees and future guests.

We will continue to monitor state and national health advisories and mandates, and we will announce a new opening date when appropriate. We look forward to opening our doors and ushering in the next era of The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park very soon. From the re-imagination of La Perla, our spectacular rooftop bar which was once Elizabeth Taylor’s penthouse, to the innovative dining experience our Executive Chef Andres Padilla will offer at Ámbar Restaurante, the transformation has been remarkable, and we can’t wait to share it with you.” 

***

***Dona Ana County records first case of Coronavirus, State total stands at 43 (3/20/2020)

SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Friday announced eight additional positive tests for COVID-19.

Per the state Department of Health, the most recent cases are:

  • ​A female in Bernalillo County in her teens
  • Two males in Bernalillo County in their 40s
  • A male in Doña Ana County in his 20s
  • A male in McKinley County in his 30s
  • A female in Sandoval County in her teens
  • A male in Sandoval County in his 80s
  • A female in Taos County in her 70s

Including the above newly reported cases, New Mexico has now had a total of 43 positive tests for COVID-19:

  • Bernalillo County: 23
  • Doña Ana County: 1
  • McKinley County: 1
  • Sandoval County: 6
  • San Miguel County: 1
  • Santa Fe County: 7
  • ​​Socorro County: 2
  • Taos County: 2

The Department of Health has detected community spread. The agency reports that given the infectious nature of the virus it is likely other residents are infected but yet to be tested or confirmed positive.

To that end, additional restrictions enacted by order of the secretary of health Thursday are intended to aggressively minimize person-to-person contact and ensure spread is mitigated by social distancing and isolation. Certain businesses are mandated closed; others have been instructed to limit operations. New Mexicans are strongly urged to limit travel to only what is necessary for health, safety and welfare.

The New Mexico Department of Health has active investigations into the positive patients, which includes contact-tracing and swabs of symptomatic individuals who have had contact with the positive cases.

State officials have vigorously encouraged all New Mexicans to practice social distancing procedures: stay home, particularly if you are sick.

Every New Mexican must work together to stem the spread of COVID-19.

New Mexicans who report symptoms of COVID-19 infection, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should call their health care provider or the NMDOH COVID-19 hotline immediately (1-855-600-3453).

People without those symptoms do not need to be tested for COVID-19. This is allergy season, and allergy symptoms such as sneezing or itchy eyes, nose or throat do not indicate a need for testing. While the state is gratified that COVID-19 testing is increasingly available, we need to prioritize testing for persons with symptoms of COVID-19 infection – fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

New Mexicans who have non-health-related questions or concerns can also call 833-551-0518 or visit newmexico.gov, which is being updated and finalized as a one-stop source for information.

The state Department of Health will update its dedicated COVID-19 webpage with additional tests as the state lab provides results.

***

***President Trump announces pending closure of US/Mexico Border, Tax Day moving from April 15 to July 15 (3/20/2020)

President Donald Trump, during his daily team briefing on Friday, announced that the US-Mexico border would be closed tonight, the latest step in the county’s journey to combat the Coronavirus pandemic.

Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf stated the closure would go into effect midnight Friday at both the northern and southern borders.

Officials added that the closure would last at least 30 days.  When asked about a nationwide lockdown, President Trump said, “I don’t think so.”

The closure deals with non-essential travel, and does not apply with border crossers who attend “educational institutions.”  As for those migrants taken into custody at the border, Secretary Wolf said they would be returned to “Canada, Mexico…and other countries without delay.”

Administration officials made the point several times that the closure would not harm trade, and was in effect to curb any migrants entering the country that could have the Coronavirus.

In addition to the closing of the border, President Trump announced that tax day would be moved from April 15th to July 15th.  Taxpayers would be able to file with no penalties and no penalties.

On Thursday, a new travel alert was issued by the State Department urging Americans not to go abroad under any circumstances and to return home if they are already abroad unless they plan to remain overseas.  In part, the alert read:

“In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.”

***

***UTEP releases information, helpful procedures in wake of U.S.- Mexico Border Restrictions (3/20/2020)

Today, it was announced that the U.S. and Mexico have reached an agreement to restrict all non-essential travel in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

This includes the ports of entry in the El Paso/Juárez area. It will be effective at midnight March 21, 2020.

Examples of essential travel include travel to attend educational institutions, for medical purposes, for emergency response and public health services, and for individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade.

As this situation continues to develop, we will share additional information.

The U.S. Embassy and consulates in Mexico have also suspended routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services as of March 18, 2020. Exceptions will be made for certain emergencies. Contact the Embassy or consulate in your area directly for specific information on available services.

Members of the UTEP community who are unable to cross the border to return to their normal place of residency may need to seek out temporary living arrangements with friends or family members if available.

Those individuals who need assistance finding a place to live should contact Elisa Espinosa at eespinosa4@utep.edu or 915-747-6117.

• Students are expected to continue to fulfill online or other course requirements once courses begin remotely on March 30.

• Difficulties with internet access or completing course requirements online should be discussed directly with the professor.

• Staff and faculty who are unable to report to work due to the border restrictions and need assistance should contact Sandy Vasquez at svasquez@utep.edu or hrs@utep.edu, or call 915-747-7873.

International students who are impacted by the border closure should report any changes in their temporary or permanent residency to the Office of International Programs at oip@utep.edu or 915-747-5664. For more information, visit this website.

The UTEP community is working together to support our students, staff and faculty impacted by recent developments at the border. We will continue to update the community as we receive new information

***

*** TFCU to close all branch lobbies from Monday, March 23rd thru at least April 13, Drive thrus to remain open (3/20/2020)

 TFCU‘s Executive Management and Board of Directors have been, monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the beginning. They have a Response Team in place to ensure the safety and health of staff and members while still providing the community with the highest level of service.

Therefore, to maintain the well-being of members and staff and to limit the spreading of COVID-19(Coronavirus) in our community, TFCU will be temporarily closing all its branch lobbies beginning Monday, March 23 until Monday, April 13 or further notice.

At this time, all branch drive-thrus will remain open during normal business hours. Normal business hours are: Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 6:00pm and Saturdays from 9:00am to 12:00pm.

Members can complete most of their usual lobby transactions through the drive thru; however, TFCU offers a variety of convenience services like online banking, mobile app, TFCU Branch ATMs, Allpoint Network ATMs, ProPay, and their Personal Audio Teller Response System (PAT) where you can check your balances, make transfers, and even check the status of your loan all from the safety of your home. For more information on their convenience services, please visit tfcu.coop.

In addition, TFCU assures the community that they are available to help those in need during these economically challenging times with loan payment extensions or special assistance loans. To find out more about how TFCU can help you, please call 915-544-5626.

If you have any additional questions about your specific situation, please contact their Call Center at 915-843-8328 during normal business hours.

***

***El Paso ISD updates on student meal distribution, procedures starting Monday (3/20/2020)

EPISD next week will begin distributing free, take-home meals for any child ages 1-18 at fifty school sites throughout the District as part of the Emergency Preparedness Week response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided to any child, regardless of their enrollment status in the district the weeks of March 23-27 and March 30-April 3.

he meals will be to take home. No dinning will be allowed in the schools.

Breakfast will be served only on March 23 only from 8 to 9 a.m. Lunch for the two weeks will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Children will be given a lunch and take-home breakfast for the next morning. Children must be present to receive the meal.

The meals will be distributed at the following schools:

  • Andress High, 5400 Sun Valley
  • Aoy Elementary, 901 S. Campbell
  • Armendariz Middle, 2231 Arizona
  • Austin High School, 3500 Memphis
  • Barron Elementary, 11155 Whitey Ford
  • Bassett Middle, 4400 Elm
  • Bonham Elementary, 7024 Cielo Vista
  • Bowie High, 801 S. San Marcial
  • Brown Middle, 7820 Helen of Troy
  • Canyon Hills Middle, 8930 Eclipse
  • Chapin High, 7000 Dyer
  • Charles Middle, 4909 Trojan
  • Clardy Elementary, 5508 Delta
  • Coldwell Elementary, 4101 Altura
  • Cooley Elementary, 107 N. Collingsworth
  • Crockett Elementary, 3200 Wheeling
  • Crosby Elementary, 5411 Wren
  • El Paso High, 800 E. Schuster
  • Fannin Elementary, 5425 Salem
  • Franklin High, 900 N. Resler
  • Green Elementary, 5430 Buckley
  • Guerrero Elementary, 7530 Lakehurst
  • Guillen Middle, 900 S. Cotton
  • Hawkins Elementary, 5816 Stephenson
  • Henderson Middle, 5505 Robert Alva
  • Herrera Elementary, 350 Coates
  • Hillside Elementary, 4500 Clifton
  • Kohlberg Elementary, 1445 Nardo Goodman
  • Lee Elementary, 7710 Pandora
  • Logan Elementary, 3200 Ellerthorpe
  • MacArthur Elementary, 8101 Whitus
  • Magoffin Elementary, 4931 Hercules
  • Mesita ECDC, 220 Lawton
  • Morehead Middle, 5625 Confetti
  • Moreno Elementary, 2300 San Diego
  • Moye Elementary, 4825 Alps
  • Nixon Elementary, 11141 Loma Roja
  • Park Elementary, 3601 Edgar Park
  • Putnam Elementary, 6508 Fiesta
  • Rivera Elementary, 6445 Escondido
  • Roberts Elementary, 341 Thorn
  • Ross Middle, 6101 Hughey
  • Rusk Elementary, 3601 N. Copia
  • Stanton Elementary, 5414 Hondo Pass
  • Terrace Hills Middle, 4835 Blossom
  • Tom Lea Elementary, 4851Marcus Uribe
  • Travis Elementary, 5000 N. Stevens
  • Whitaker Elementary, 4700 Rutherford
  • Wiggs Middle, 1300 Circle
  • Zach White Elementary, 4256 Roxbury

***

***Ysleta ISD updates hours of operation for meal distribution (3/19/2020)

The hours of operation HAVE CHANGED for the distribution of breakfast and lunch meals at Ysleta ISD schools during the closure beginning Monday, March 23.
At select campuses, vehicles can pull up from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. and receive BOTH breakfast and lunch meals on a drive-through basis for children inside the vehicle.

The select campuses are:

  • Capistrano Elementary
  • Constance Hulbert Elementary School
  • Desertaire Elementary School
  • R.E.L. Washington Elementary School
  • Bel Air Middle School
  • Del Valle Middle School
  • Parkland Middle School
  • Bel Air High School
  • Del Valle High School
  • Eastwood High School
  • Hanks High School
  • Parkland High School
  • Riverside High School
  • Ysleta High School
Thank you for partnering with us to make sure all YISD families are aware they can receive both breakfast and lunch meals for their children when they visit the select campuses above between the revised hours of 7:30-10:30 a.m. on weekdays during the school closure.

***

***Canutillo ISD times/locations for free meal distribution (3/19/2020)

Canutillo ISD will serve free breakfast and lunch for any child ages 1-18 in El Paso who may need a meal during the declared weeks of emergency preparedness of March 23 – April 3, when the District will be closed.

The Breakfast schedule at these campuses will be from 7 am to 9 am.
The Lunch schedule at these campuses will be from 11 am to 1 pm.

The meals will be served at the following schools:

  • Canutillo High School
  • Bill Childress Elementary
  • Garcia Elementary
  • Canutillo Elementary

***

***Ysleta ISD updates times, campuses that will offer curbside meals (3/19/2020)

To help minimize the impact to YISD families during the weeks of school closure, select campuses will offer weekday breakfast and lunch meals to school-aged children between ages 1-18 on a drive-through basis.

Vehicles will be allowed to pull up to the campuses listed below from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. and receive both breakfast and lunch meals for children inside the vehicle:

  • Capistrano Elementary
  • Constance Hulbert Elementary School
  • Desertaire Elementary School
  • R.E.L. Washington Elementary School
  • Bel Air Middle School
  • Del Valle Middle School
  • Parkland Middle School
  • Bel Air High School
  • Del Valle High School
  • Eastwood High School
  • Hanks High School
  • Parkland High School
  • Riverside High School
  • Ysleta High School

As always, the district will continue to work closely with city and county health officials, and monitor any developments regarding COVID-19 as it relates to the Ysleta ISD community.

***

***IDEA Public Schools close until further notice, implements Distance Learning, Meal Service Program (3/19/2020)

To help keep our community safe, IDEA Public Schools campuses in Texas will remain closed until further notice. All planned events, athletics, field trips, after-school programs and other campus activities have been canceled for the remainder of the year.

Student instruction will continue online via distance learning for all students in grades Pre-K through 12 beginning:

  • Monday, March 23 in Tarrant County
  • Tuesday, March 24 in San Antonio
  • Monday, March 30 in the Rio Grande Valley, El Paso, and Austin

IDEA will also provide physical copies of school materials available via curbside pickup.

In an effort to provide essential services that support the well-being of our students and families, all campuses will remain open only for curbside meal services for families beginning:

  • Thursday, March 19 in Tarrant County
  • Friday, March 20 in San Antonio
  • Monday, March 23 in the Rio Grande Valley, Austin, and El Paso

Select campuses will remain open to provide limited childcare to IDEA parents who work in critical public safety roles such as healthcare, first response, city or county-based roles.

Childcare will be available for these parents at designated campuses from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm Mondays – Fridays and will abide by CDC guidelines for public health, including temperature checks upon entry and gatherings of no more than 10 people per childcare area.

Childcare will be available for up to 50 students per site on a first-come, first-served basis.

Families wanting more information on extending school closure, meal service, childcare services, and the distance learning program, may visit IDEA’s website

***

***Emergence Health Network reminds community of mental health and wellness needs during this time (3/19/2020)

Emergence Health Network, the area’s mental health and wellness professionals, remind residents that they continue to offer crisis services for those needing them throughout the COVID-19 epidemic. Residents can call the Emergence Crisis Line at 915-779-1800, 24/7 if they need services.

Live operators continue to staff the crisis line as usual.

***

Staff Report

Staff Reports are just that, Staff Reporting the news. No skew, no opinion just the news. We pride ourselves on making sure that we bring you the news as soon as it is published, submitted or sent to us. No need to have a reporter rewrite or give their opinion. The facts or information, nothing more.

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