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Health care workers are scrambling to get people back to work after a deadly outbreak of a rare disease in the northern half of the state has left nearly a dozen people dead.
The state Department of Health said Friday it was closing hospitals and providing care at emergency rooms, which it said could result in up to 50 people needing hospitalization, but the department also said it is working with other providers and businesses to expand care for people who have been diagnosed with the disease.
The department said in a statement it is actively monitoring the situation.
The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said it had started to provide vaccinations and other preventive care.
The outbreak started early Wednesday at a clinic that treated people with kidney disease in nearby El Paso County, a city of about 14,000 people about 90 miles northeast of Dallas.
The department said a number of people with the kidney disease, which affects the kidney, were initially in the clinic but were eventually moved to hospitals and treated.
On Thursday, the agency said there was still no evidence that the outbreak was related to the clinic.
The agency said it did not believe any people at the clinic were at risk of contracting the disease, and that the clinic has been closed.
The agency said that for several days, the department was unable to provide people with chronic kidney disease with dialysis or other treatments.
The government has said that the deaths of five people who had been in the treatment facility, including a baby, and a young child, also known as a “young survivor” or “young infant” because of the condition, could have been prevented had it been properly staffed.
In an update Thursday, health officials said they have notified local law enforcement and will work with the local hospital to try to get the other people who were treated at the hospital to hospital.
They also said they are working with the city of El Paso to reopen the clinic and have made plans to send patients to other emergency rooms.
The Dallas Morning News said on Friday that officials were also looking into whether there was a connection between the deaths at the El Paso clinic and other outbreaks of kidney disease and the state’s other hospitals.