Mayor Keller, Albuquerque leaders address coronavirus cases

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Mayor Tim Keller, city leaders, Bernalillo County and UNM Health Sciences Center officials addressed residents on Thursday regarding the recent arrival of coronavirus in the New Mexico community.

“Our city has been preparing for coronavirus over the past several weeks and we have been working with our hospitals and other government agencies, especially county which is also here with us today, in terms of what to do about this situation,” said Mayor Keller.

Mayor Keller stressed the importance of social distancing and noted that a 25% reduction in mixing with other individuals can create as much as a 50% reduction in infection. He stated that although you may not feel sick it is still a possibility that you could still be carrying the virus.

City services will continue to operate

Residents can still rely on city services and public safety as they will continue to operate including police, paramedics, sanitation, and 911. “Some of our city workers will have to work and continue to work regardless of what is going to happen with respect to this virus. It is part of our job as public servants to do that,” said Keller.

Keller reiterated Governor Lujan Grisham’s announcement that all out of state travel for city employees has been banned and all employees that are able to work from home are encouraged to.

Public Events Ban

The city is activating its Emergency Operation Center to communicate will all community partners.

The city is also identifying all public events that involve the gathering of over 100 individuals in order to postpone them in accordance with the public health announcement made Thursday. This will include events within the next 30 days at the KiMo Theatre, the South Broadway Center, and the Albuquerque Convention Center.

Mayor Keller explained that events in which people are transient and moving through a space are not included in this ban. Therefore the zoo and museum will continue to be open at this time.

“This also is somewhat similar from a health perspective to something like Walmart or other businesses and shopping malls which we know need to stay open and people need to continue going about their business,” said Keller.

New Mexico United has also postponed its first three games. USL will provide additional information on events.

This decision will be reevaluated every three days.

Discrimination

While there have not been any reports of discrimination within the city, Mayor Keller explained it has been an issue elsewhere in America and is against the law. Any reports of discrimination should be reported to the Albuquerque Office of Civil Rights.

Schools

Student, Family, and Community Support Executive Director Kristine Meurer with Albuquerque Public Schools stated that the district does have a pandemic plan and works closely with the city, county as well as state departments. At this time, Albuquerque Public Schools will not close.

This week, students are not in class due to parent-teacher conferences and the district is using the time to clean schools.

Students are encouraged to stay home if they are sick. The district has also changed its policy so that if students are at home sick they will no longer need to provide a doctor’s note. All illnesses that require students to stay home will be considered excused absences.

It has also activated its own pandemic team that has been working for over two months to determine how the district will respond to the issue.

In addition to enforcing coronavirus precautions such as 20-second handwashing, covering coughs, etc. around schools, the district has also increased cleaning at schools.

This is a developing story. KRQE News 13 will provide updates as they are made available.

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Correction

Earlier we reported Albuquerque Public School spring break was next week. APS spring break is March 30-April 3, 2020

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