Gov. Lujan Grisham: Limit non-household contact as COVID-19 cases spike across New Mexico

Coronavirus New Mexico

Watch full news conference below

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – As we continue to see record-breaking case counts in the thousands, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and health officials have an update on the state’s plan to stem the tide. “Uncontrollable spread” is what was heard in the news conference Thursday and Gov. Lujan Grisham broke out a new kind of graph to illustrate what’s happening in New Mexico.

“14 days, 200 deaths, one week 10,000 cases; 14 days 200 deaths. This is the outcome of that exponential spread if we don’t and we were going to if we don’t get it under control as quickly as possible you’re going to see 200 deaths in seven days and that number will grow but it doesn’t have to,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham.

On Wednesday, New Mexico reported 2,897 new coronavirus cases, another 26 deaths, and 776 hospitalizations. That’s nearly six times the case numbers being reported a month ago. The state broke the case count down by zip code with southwest Albuquerque and the South Valley topping the list. Roswell, southwest Santa Fe, the Los Lunas Meadow Lake area, and Hobbs followed.

On Monday, the state entered a two-week shutdown in order to control the spread of COVID-19 with gyms, salons, and other nonessential businesses having to close their doors. On-site dining in restaurants is also prohibited. After the two-week shutdown ends on Nov. 30, the state will implement restrictions county by county. Restrictions will either stay in place or be lifted depending on the case counts where you live.

A big focus of Thursday’s news conference was on the danger of getting together with people you don’t live with as we’re now just a week away from Thanksgiving. A new map from Georgia Tech shows how likely you are to encounter a person who has COVID if you go to a gathering of just ten people. Dr. David Scrase, Secretary for the Human Services Department, said the numbers surprised him and are much higher than he thought especially in Chaves and Eddy Counties.

Slide shown at Nov. 19 COVID-19 update

“You can see in one county there’s a better than 50% chance that someone, those 10 people in that meeting will have coronavirus. Let’s take Eddy County, 33% chance of someone there being COVID, no one would fly on an airplane that had a 33% chance of going down, right?” Dr. Scrase said.

Of course, Dr. Scrase and the governor fear Thanksgiving gatherings will fuel another surge in cases and pointed out that hospital beds are filling up fast. The governor also said Thursday that far too many New Mexicans relying on the results of one negative COVID-19 test, a test they have gotten too soon before the virus has incubated. Looking at hospital capacity statewide, as of Thursday morning there were only 60 regular beds available and only 29 ICU beds.

Slide shown at Nov. 19 COVID-19 update

Also announced Thursday, the governor said that a new round of financial relief could start arriving right after the Thanksgiving holiday.

“A Zoom Thanksgiving is better than an intensive care unit Christmas,” added Dr. Scrase.

When the governor shut almost everything back down, she said she knew it would have a huge impact on both businesses and families and she announced the legislative session will begin on Tuesday.

“We want to get this relief out to New Mexicans, they need unemployment, they need housing assistance and businesses need grants and that gives us a day to get the processes well underway that Wednesday before Thanksgiving so that the Monday when we get back we’re pushing money out the door,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham.

The governor said she spent the last several days working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle but didn’t say exactly what kind of relief New Mexicans should expect.

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