On April 30, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham made it official announced that she was extending the quarantine orders another two weeks to May 15. The order was set to expire May 1. The Governor also announced she will allow some business to open for the reason that that New Mexico has “flattened the curve” and is on track to avoid a shortage of hospital beds as it confronts the coronavirus outbreak. Notwithstanding, the governor said New Mexico is “well on our way” to getting closer to reopening.
Dr. David Scrase, Cabinet Secretary of the Human Services Department said he expects cases in New Mexico to continue to grow over next six weeks. Using new projections based on research from Los Alamos National Lab Dr. Scarse said the models predict 7,200 COVID-19 cases by beginning of June. Dr. Scrase also said all 14 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds in McKinley County area are full. Patients in the area are being transported to Albuquerque, where adjustments are being made to expand ICU capabilities because ICU beds at the major hospitals are also full.
PHASED IN REOPENING PLAN
The Governor has already announced a phased in business opening plan. The timeline for the state’s phased in reopening plan is dependent on when certain criteria are met. Social distancing measures will be mandated to avoid a spike in COVID-19 cases The Governor’s “phase in” business reopening plan includes at least 3 major phases:
– All individuals instructed to stay home
– Industry Councils to develop COVID safe practices (CSP)
– Define how businesses will protect employees and customers
– Vulnerable individuals instructed to stay home
– Some non-essential businesses permitted to reopen in compliance with CSPs.
– Certain businesses will still be closed
Phase Two and Beyond
– Additional businesses permitted to reopen in compliance with CSPs.
– Larger gatherings and events still restricted for the foreseeable future
– Other changes to be announced
Governor Lujan Grisham has vowed to sanction businesses that flout restrictions on nonessential business. State Police officers have been dispatched to cities and small towns across the state to enforce the restrictions. As of April 28, the New Mexico State Police had issued 124 cease and desist orders to first-time violators and three citations on second offenses. Two individuals were referred to the Department of Health for repeated noncompliance and could face civil penalties.
BUSINESS ACTIVITY ALLOWED ON FRIDAY, MAY 1
On April 30, the Governor announced that state officials are beginning to ease up on business restrictions. The Governor emphasized that all New Mexicans should wear face coverings while they are out. She announced that starting Friday, May 1, the following will be allowed:
Non-essential retailers can operate via curbside pickup and delivery service where permitted by their license, but this does not include liquor stores.
State parks are allowed to reopen May 1 on a modified “day use only” basis as staff is available. Camping and visitors are still closed. The first to open are Cimarron Canyon, Ute Lake, Brantley Lake, Sumner Lake, Caballo Lake, Cerrillos Hills, Storrie Lake and Villanueva. Day-use fees will be waived to decrease person-to-person interaction through May 15.
Pet services, including adoption, groomers, daycare, boarding of animals will be permitted to operate.
Veterinarians permitted to operate
Golf courses allowed to open for golf only but no dine-in food service or retail services will be allowed.
Gun stores will be allowed to operate by appointment only given need for background checks
BUSINESS ACTIVITY NOT ALLOWED ON FRIDAY, MAY 1
Under the modified orders, the following will remain closed:
Offices, work-spaces, retailers, except curbside-delivery will be allowed.
Dine-in restaurants and bars, except curbside-delivery are still allowed.
Indoor malls, gyms, salons, theaters and casinos are to remain closed.
Mass gatherings are prohibited.
The14-day quarantine order remains in place for out-of-state airport travel.
FOLLOWING RESTRICTIONS NOW WILL TRANSLATE INTO MORE OPENINGS
During her April 30 briefing, Governor Lujan Grisham warned that Phase 1 can only be implemented if New Mexicans continue to follow social distancing rules now. If that happens the governor said Phase 1 would possibly include the following:
All retailers could operate according to retail COVID-19 safe practices at 20% fire code occupancy.
Dine-in service at restaurants and bars could be permitted up to 50% occupancy but without barstool or standing service.
Gyms and salons, hotels and houses of worship could operate in a limited fashion according to COVID safe practices, including social distancing, wearing of protective face masks and use of hand sanitation products.
The public health order that was set to expire on May 1st and the new public health order go into effect the same day until May 15th.
CONFIRMED CASES OF COVID-19 IN NEW MEXICO
Following are the latest statistics on COVID-19 cases in New Mexico as of April 30:
Positive tests: 3,411
Total Tests: 67,869
198 new cases bringing total to 3,411
172 total hospitalizations, 44 who are on ventilators
Eleven additional deaths have been reported bringing the total to 123 deaths. A breakdown of those cases are as follows:
A male in his 80s from Luna County. The individual was hospitalized and had underlying conditions. He was a new resident of Central Desert Behavioral Health in Albuquerque.
A male in his 70s from McKinley County. The individual was hospitalized and had underlying conditions. He was a resident of Sundance Care Home in Gallup.
A male in his 50s from McKinley County. The individual was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.
A male in his 40s from McKinley County. The individual was hospitalized.
A female in her 90s from San Juan County. The individual had underlying conditions. She was a resident of the Life Care Center of Farmington in Farmington.
A female in her 80s from San Juan County. The individual was hospitalized and had underlying conditions. She was a resident of the Life Care Center of Farmington in Farmington.
A second female in her 80s from San Juan County. The individual had underlying conditions. She was a resident of the Life Care Center of Farmington in Farmington.
A third female in her 80s from San Juan County. The individual had underlying conditions. She was a resident of the Life Care Center of Farmington in Farmington.
A male in his 90s from San Juan County. The individual had underlying conditions. He was a resident of the Life Care Center of Farmington in Farmington.
A second male in his 90s from San Juan County. The individual had underlying conditions. He was a resident of the Life Care Center of Farmington in Farmington.
A male in his 80s from San Juan County. The individual had underlying conditions. He was a resident of the Life Care Center of Farmington in Farmington.
CASES BY COUNTY:
Following is a breakdown of the number of cases reported per county as of April 30. Note that McKinely County has reported the largest number of cases at 1,027 compared to Bernalillo County at 812 , with Bernalillo County having upwards to 10 times the number of residents as McKinely County:
Bernalillo County: 812
Catron County: 1
Chaves County: 22
Cibola County: 52
Colfax County: 5
Curry County: 17
Doña Ana County: 144
Eddy County: 12
Grant County: 14
Guadalupe County: 14
Harding County: 1
Lea County: 10
Lincoln County: 2
Los Alamos County: 6
Luna County: 4
McKinley County: 1027
Otero County: 5
Quay County: 4
Rio Arriba County: 14
Roosevelt County: 9
Sandoval County: 389
San Juan County: 621
San Miguel County: 2
Santa Fe County: 100
Sierra County: 1
Socorro County: 42
Taos County: 18
Torrance County: 15
Union County: 3
Valencia County: 45
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
The clear and unmistakable message Governor Lujan delivered on April 30 is that all of what she has ordered is indeed “flattening the curve” and the state is making significant progress, but we still have a ways to go given the fact that increases in cases is still being projected. New Mexico appears to be inching closer to reopening over perhaps the next 2 months.
The Governor also sent the clear message that in a real sense, its all on use to make sure we do are part and follow the social distancing rules.
TAKE PRECAUTIONS TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND FAMILY
Older adults and those with chronic illnesses are most at risk to contract the virus that could result in death from complications. Even healthy young people not worried about getting sick should take steps to protect themselves and others in that they could still carry the virus but not show signs of it. The strategy must be to limit the chance of transmitting the disease to persons who are more vulnerable.
Health and government officials urged people to protect themselves by:
1. Self-quarantine as much as possible
2. Honoring the “quarantine” and staying home and avoid large crowds and public events
3. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and do not touch your face
4. Clean “high-touch” surfaces daily with regular household cleaners
5. When coughing, use a tissue or cough into the forearm of your elbow
6. Avoiding the sharing of personal household items
7. Stay at home when sick
8. Practice “social distancing” when talking to others in person by standing 6 feet away from them
9 Wear face masks if available that seals around mouth and nose when out in public
10.Limit activities to grocery shopping, filling your car with gasoline and medical appointment.
Please be safe and use the precautions outlined.