Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Juarez

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Mexican border city training health workers to protect them from pandemic

Chihuahua State Police members, wearing protective suits, take part in an information and prevention campaign against the coronavirus -COVID-19- pandemic, at the Cordoba-De las Americas International Bridge in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, on March 29, 2020. (Photo by HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Mexican health authorities today confirmed two new COVID-19 cases in Juarez while announcing further social distancing measures.

One of the victims is a 55-year-old woman who had been hospitalized with flu-like symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus; there was no immediate information on the second patient. Juarez now has six confirmed COVID-19 cases, while El Paso, Texas across the border stands at 46, Fort Bliss at seven and Doña Ana County, N.M. — which borders both El Paso to the east and Juarez to the west — has 18.

Dr. Arturo Valenzuela Zorrilla

The woman’s condition is now rated as “good and improving” and health authorities are investigating the source of the illness, said Dr. Arturo Valenzuela Zorrilla, head of the Chihuahua state Health Department in Juarez.

“The cities affected so far in our state are Juarez and Chihuahua City. We have a total of eight cases” in the state, Valenzuela said in an online briefing Tuesday morning.

The health official said the state continues to move forward with plans to create a “sanitary fence” at the state borders, given that neighboring states including Texas have far more cases than Chihuahua. On Monday on the Juarez side of the Bridge of the Americas, health workers handed out leaflets on preventing COVID-19 to motorists and pedestrians coming over from El Paso, Texas.

Valenzuela said more than 800 police officers and thousands of health workers have received online courses on how to prevent getting infected with the coronavirus. “We believe that through training we will have a better control of the epidemic while safeguarding those health workers who have to perform essential tasks,” he said.

Meantime, the Mexican Health Ministry announced an extension to the stoppage of non-essential activities and the closing of non-essential business through April 30. Previously, the restrictions were to stay in place through the end of March.

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