NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Thursday the state will stay under the same public health order through much of the month of August. The waiting game continues for New Mexico, but one thing the governor said would help us inch back toward normal is being honest with doctors and contact tracers if you do test positive for COVID-19 so teams can notify other potentially infected people faster.
“If you don’t do that, we can’t run to the outbreak. If we can’t run to the outbreak and mitigate and prevent, we don’t get to get to full-time in-person school, we don’t get to open up businesses, we don’t get to do the things that all of us miss. I’m hoping that sometime this year all of us might get to go to a movie in a theater. None of that happens if we don’t do a better job,” the governor said in Thursday’s press conference.
The governor said the occupancy restrictions for businesses and churches will remain in place and mass gatherings are still prohibited. A new graph shows restaurants and retail are still high on the list of the state’s rapid response team, which launches when an employee tests positive, only trailing behind health care facilities.
The state’s new seven-day case average map shows we are finally starting to drop off from the skyrocketing numbers we saw throughout July, though we are clearly still far above where we were at our lowest point in June.
Dr. David Scrase also presented a new graph in the press conference showing the seven-day average of hospitalizations and deaths. He says at the beginning of this latest spike in cases, they saw a slight uptick in deaths, but not nearly as high as they did back in April and May.
“Why is that? Why are we seeing something different? We believe, actually, it’s the demographic changes we presented. The fact that more younger people are getting COVID infections, a lot more in the 20-30 age group and in fact, more in the 10-19 age group as well,” Dr. Scrase said.
For the first time, New Mexico has joined the sea of dark red states, which represent “Uncontrolled Spread” on the website COVID exit strategy. While this looks grim, Dr. Scrase says if New Mexico stays the course and cases continue to drop, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.
“I think if we can see a sustained, a very sustained decline in the number of cases, I’m very hopeful we’ll see this turn to the usual red, then orange, then back to green in the next three to four weeks,” Dr. Scrase said. The green color, hypothetically, would give New Mexico the green light to move forward in its reopening plan.
Dr. Scrase says if the hospitalizations would’ve risen at the same rate they did the first time, New Mexico’s ICUs would have been full. The governor says if the spread does reduce, the state can potentially relax some occupancy restrictions in September.
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