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Commentary Coronavirus

Five things you can do to save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic

By El Paso Health Sciences and Policy Research Group

El Pasoans: we are in a crisis and we need your help.

In the upcoming weeks, there likely will be an extreme shortage of health-care resources in our region due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As hospital beds fill up, our local hospitals will not be able to treat all medical emergencies and difficult decisions will need to be made to ration care. When combined with other healthcare challenges in El Paso, including current shortages of personal protective equipment and health-care providers, it becomes clear that El Paso faces a daunting healthcare crisis.

What you can do

The good news is that you can take action to limit the crisis! Your actions will save lives.  

The main goal is to prevent the disease from spreading in our community. We will achieve this by keeping as many people as possible at home, especially those who are at higher risk for severe illness. This includes people who are 65 years and older and and all those with:

  • Lung disease or asthma
  • Heart conditions
  • Severe obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Tuberculosis (TB)
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Any condition that compromises the immune system

And don’t forget those who are in contact with high-risk individuals.

Take these five actions to prevent the spread of disease and help save lives in our community:

  • Follow local government orders to stay at home if you are not essential personnel, and encourage people you know to follow these orders. Safe outdoor exercises such as walks around the neighborhood are allowed, if you follow social distancing guidelines.
  • When you must leave home, follow social distancing guidelines by staying at least six feet from other people, cleaning your hands often, covering coughs/sneezes with your elbow, wearing a cloth face cover, and not touching your face. These guidelines must be followed even for family members and friends who live outside your home.
  • Make extra efforts to safely support people you know who are at higher risk of severe illness, so that they do not need to leave their home. Some examples of support are engaging them by phone or video chat, preparing and dropping off food, making arrangements for their medications to be delivered, helping them to reschedule any non-emergency appointments, and providing financial support.
  • Make extra efforts to safely assist others who are not able to stay at home, due to homelessness, hunger, and other challenges. Some examples of support are sharing information about available shelters, preparing and dropping off food, and providing financial support.
  • If you have symptoms such as cough, fever, or shortness of breath, follow these guidelines and call your doctor or the local COVID hotline (915-212-6843).

The El Paso Health Sciences and Policy Research Group includes:  Josiah Heyman, Ph.D.; Gabriel Ibarra-Mejia, M.D., Ph.D.; Ophra Leyser-Whalen, Ph.D.; Eva M. Moya, Ph.D., LMSW; Gregory S. Schober, Ph.D. This statement represents its individual co-signers, not their work and institutional affiliations.


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