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Friday forum to present info on coronavirus


Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

A public forum Friday morning will help inform the community about the state’s efforts in preparing for the new coronavirus.

The forum on COVID-19 will be from 9 to 10 a.m. Friday at the Roswell Performing Arts Center at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell, 52 University Blvd., according to a press release from the New Mexico Department of Health. A forum will also be conducted in Clovis from 1 to 2 p.m. Friday at the Clovis-Carver Public Library.

Community leaders, local health providers and the public can attend. Department of Health personnel will provide a short presentation with a question and answer session following.

Testing for COVID-19 is now available through the State Scientific Laboratory, according to a second press release from the Department of Health. The Department of Health has received kits to test several hundred patients without having to send samples out of state for testing, according to the press release.

The State Scientific Laboratory not only expects more test kits to arrive, it is also working with TriCore Reference Laboratories to establish testing at select locations across the state.

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“Testing at SLD will be provided at no cost to New Mexico residents,” NMDOH Cabinet Secretary Kathy Kunkel said in the press release.

The Department of Health is currently reviewing suspected COVID-19 infections in patients throughout the state, according to the release.

Testing will be considered for: Patients showing signs of illness but who test negative for more common respiratory illnesses and have traveled to a country with a level 3 travel warning such as China, South Korea, Italy and Iran; patients hospitalized with a severe respiratory illness, such as pneumonia, without an alternative diagnosis — regardless of travel history; and some specimens from patients around the state with flu symptoms who test negative for influenza.

Healthcare professionals who suspect COVID-19 should immediately notify infection control personnel at their facility and contact the Department of Health at 505-827-0006, according to the press release.

The COVID-19 virus continues to spread globally, and community spread has increased or been detected in multiple countries and the west coast. Community spread means that cases have been confirmed in patients who haven’t traveled internationally or been around someone diagnosed with the virus.

The Department of Health asks all New Mexico residents returning from travel to China, South Korea, Italy and Iran to call the Epidemiology Hotline at 505-827-0006 for guidance.

While NMDOH is actively monitoring and planning for the likely arrival of the novel coronavirus, it is important to remember that it is still flu and respiratory virus season, the press release states. The department’s release reminds everyone to wash their hands frequently, cover a cough, and stay home if they are ill.

These same steps are also effective in preventing contracting COVID-19, the release said.

For the latest information about the COVID-19 virus in New Mexico, visit the novel coronavirus webpage: cv.nmhealth.org/.

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