Home News COVID-19 Situation Governor extends public health order

Governor extends public health order

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In this file photo, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks about an uptick in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state during a news conference at the state Capitol. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal via AP)

17 more COVID-19 cases in Chaves County

With daily positive tests for COVID-19 continuing to rise, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday announced the state’s emergency public health order will remain in place at least through late August.

Lujan Grisham announced at a remote press conference Thursday, streamed on social media, the order would remain in place for about the next 30 days — the most allowed under existing state law.

The existing order prohibits mass gatherings — defined as a gathering of more than five individuals, limits the operations of certain businesses and includes a requirement that people wear face coverings in public settings.

A prohibition on indoor dining at restaurants and breweries enacted two weeks ago as a way to curb the spread of COVID-19 will also remain intact. Establishments are still able under the existing rules to offer curbside, pickup and delivery services and outdoor patio seating at 50% of capacity.

“The overall goal here is to get our numbers down,” she said.

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Lujan Grisham said that will enable the state to safely introduce a certain amount of risk, such as possibly resuming in-person classroom instruction after Labor Day, and lift some restrictions on businesses. That risk though will likely be followed by a brief uptick in cases.

“When we introduce risk, we will have a little spike. That is our effort here, a controllable reaction to that and then it comes back down in two weeks,” she said.

Lujan Grisham also warned people not to minimize the dangers of COVID-19, and its possible effects on the longterm health of those who contract it.

Like other viruses such as chickenpox and influenza, COVID-19 remains in a person’s body after they get it.

Vaccines and other treatments help manage those viruses, but she warned people not to become complacent, even when cases stabilize or start to drop.

“We don’t know about the longterm effects of this virus and once you have it, you have it,” she said.

Lujan Grisham’s press conference happened as the New Mexico Department of Health, in its daily report, announced an additional 255 positive test results for the virus, including 17 in Chaves County.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Mexico have reached 20,388. Chaves County, as of Thursday, has recorded 317 of those virus cases among local residents.

Of those individuals, 80 local residents included in the 8,015 individuals across the state are designated by the Department of Health as having recovered from COVID-19.

A total of 551,637 tests for the virus have been performed statewide, including 9,782 locally.

Counties with the most new positive tests listed in the report were: Bernalillo County with 63, McKinley County with 35, Doña Ana and San Juan counties each with 22 and Chaves County with 17. Lea and Santa Fe counties each recorded 15 new cases. Sandoval and Cibola counties had 14 and 12 new cases respectively.

New positive tests were announced in 14 other counties, all in single digits.

COVID-19 was also detected in three New Mexico Department of Corrections inmates: two at the Lea County Correctional Facility and one at the Otero County Prison Facility.

Three more deaths associated with COVID-19 were also announced Thursday, all of whom were hospitalized and had underlying conditions. They were two McKinley County residents in their 70s — one man and one woman — and a woman in her 80s from San Juan County.

New Mexico’s death toll from COVID-19 is now 635, of which five are from Chaves County.

As of Thursday, 156 individuals with the virus were hospitalized in New Mexico.

People exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 infection are encouraged to immediately contact their health care provider or the COVID-19 hotline at 1-855-600-3453.

Symptoms of the virus include fever, cough, shortness of breath, headache, sore throat, chills, repeated shaking with chills and muscle pain.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.