The governor of New Mexico on Friday issued a revised public health order with shelter-in-place instructions that will last until after Thanksgiving.
“If we don’t act right now, we cannot preserve the lives, keep saving lives, and we will absolutely crush our current health care system and infrastructure,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in Friday afternoon’s update that was livestreamed on her Facebook page.
The revised order came on the eighth day in a row with more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 in the state and a record number of deaths reported in a single day, including one in Chaves County.
In its daily update, the New Mexico Department of Health reported 1,237 new cases including 109 in Chaves County.
Among the 22 deaths related to COVID-19 reported Friday was a Chaves County woman in her 80s. She had been hospitalized and had underlying health conditions.
Support Local Journalism
Subscribe to the Roswell Daily Record today.
Support Local Journalism
Beginning Monday through Nov. 30, the revised public health order — dubbed a “reset” against COVID-19 — reenacts the state’s most heightened level of restrictions:
• New Mexicans are instructed to shelter in place except for only the most essential trips such as for groceries, water, emergency medical care, a flu shot or a COVID-19 test.
• Non-essential businesses and nonprofits must cease in-person activities. These include close-contact businesses and recreational facilities such as barbershops, salons, gyms and bars. It also includes outdoor recreational facilities such as golf courses, tennis courts and state parks.
• Essential businesses can operate under reduced capacities and workforces. These include grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, shelters and child care facilities. Retail stores that are considered essential include hardware stores, auto and bike repair, laundromats, grocery and convenience stores, food banks and “big box” stores. They may operate with either 25% of their maximum capacity or no more than 75 customers at one time, whichever is smaller. Essential retailers must close by 10 p.m. and can reopen at 4 a.m.
• Houses of worship can operate at 25% of maximum capacity or 75 people at one time, whichever is smaller.
• Food and drink establishments can provide curbside pickup and delivery. On-site dining is prohibited.
Businesses face a civil penalty of up to $5,000 a day for each violation of the public health emergency response act, according to a press release on the new restrictions from the governor’s office.
After Nov. 30, the state will implement a new three-tier, county-by-county system to establish reopening benchmarks that Lujan Grisham said will give counties more flexibility in determining reopening strategies.
The system will use the green, yellow and red categories the state is already using, with green counties having the lowest daily case rates and test positivity rates while red counties have the highest.
The system will use county-level public health data to set benchmarks for reopening, Lujan Grisham said.
“We believe that this creates not only the right incentives, but really then bolsters the ability of community members and will partner more successfully local government and other economic leaders in those counties to assist in making sure that the state successfully blunts the spread of the virus,” she said.
Lujan Grisham said she believes it is possible for more counties to move into the green tier immediately after Nov. 30 under the system. Only three counties are currently rated green, with five in yellow.
In its daily COVID-19 update, the state reported its total number of cases at 62,006 and deaths at 1,198. Chaves County now has a total of 2,955 cases and 22 deaths. The Roswell Correctional Facility has a total of 218 cases among inmates.
Of the other deaths reported Friday, six were from Bernalillo County, three from Cibola County, seven from Doña Ana County, two each from Eddy and Otero counties, and one from Socorro County.
Ages of the deceased ranged from people in their 40s to their 90s.
The total number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Friday is 455. Dr. David Scrase, secretary of the human services department, said in Friday’s livestream the state has been revising how it reports hospital occupancy rates. Beginning Monday, the state will use real-time reports directly from the state’s hospitals, he said.
City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.