SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Wednesday that social distancing is working and that the state is getting the equipment it needs. She also said she’s working with the White House and New Mexico could soon be the role model for other states.
New Mexico can now process up to 3,500 tests a day while taking only 24 to 48 hours to get back results. The New Mexico Department of Health also says they’re adding a lot of partners to do this including two of the state’s national laboratories.
“We welcome Sandia National Labs who is able now to test federal employees and is entering into a contract. There is some federal paperwork that needs to be resolved and they will be able to test other New Mexicans. We welcome Walmart who reached out to us and is entering a contract, should we need their support,” said Kathy Kunkel, Secretary for the New Mexico Department of Health.
Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel also said they are focusing on testing in long term care and tribal communities. She also added they are working on continuing to test as broadly as possible to limit the spread of the coronavirus in New Mexico.
On Wednesday, the governor also said the amount of personal protective equipment New Mexico received last week was 200,000 N95 masks, 1.3 million surgical masks and 50,000 face shields with pending orders for 400 ventilators plus 1,000 ventilators requested through FEMA and a request for 600,000 gloves. She added that 400 ventilators should be in the state by next week. She also says that 1.5 million N95 masks are excepted to arrive in the state by next week.
The governor says because of the success in testing, getting our medical team ready, bending the curve and addressing the public health emergency, the White House wants to work with New Mexico.
“They want New Mexico to be a pilot for surveillance and research and what we call contact tracing…that’s figuring out a more automated way and bringing in more workers to figure out who has been exposed,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham.
Gov. Lujan Grisham says she’s very proud of the opportunity to get to work with the CDC and Health and Human Services Department and lead the country in these responses.
Lastly, the Department of Health Secretary Dr. David Scrase says there is a new app called ‘New Mexico Connect’ that focuses on behavioral health resources for those during the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Scrase says Sandoval, San Juan, and McKinley Counties have had an increase in new COVID-19 cases. However, overall, Dr. Scrase says the curve is changing.
Also, in response to the New Mexico Supreme Court’s rejection of the state’s petition for a mail-in primary ballot, the governor said that polling locations pose a difficult situation with the congregation of people and it is still a risk with social distancing guidelines. The governor asks New Mexicans to request an absentee ballot, fill out the application and send it back.