Mayor and City Officials give update on response to coronavirus

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – In a new conference Saturday, the Mayor and City Officials gave an update on response efforts to the coronavirus that were released Friday. These updates include new question screening for passengers arriving at the Albuquerque Sunport and a new testing center at the Presbyterian facility on the Westside. The Mayor also noted that there will be long lines at testing centers and residence should be prepared to wait. Fill your tank before you go. The Mayor said that the city has the capability to handle testing as test kits arrive.  

The mayor also addressed the importance of social distancing and asked the community to go to the grocery store only when you need too and get only what you need for the next few days. The City is adding additional presence at big box stores like Walmart as well as supermarkets.

In a news release Friday, Mayor Tim Keller said the city is following all orders from the State of New Mexico Department of Health and the City will continually update the public on operations across its various departments as changes occur.

Citywide

  • Activating City Emergency Operations Center and Joint Information Center to coordinate with local and state government agencies and institutions.
  • Banning non-essential out-of-state travel for all employees.
  • Encouraging City employees to use teleconferencing and email to replace face-to-face meetings.
  • Postponing Board and Commission meetings until after April 15.
  • Enhancing cleaning measures for all facilities and services that are operating.

Public Safety

  • Increased presence of Albuquerque Police Department and Albuquerque Fire Rescue throughout the community.
  • Prioritizing continuity of critical public safety services, with City first responders ready and prepared to serve and lead the local response.
  • Participating in national networks of emergency medical providers through Albuquerque Police and Fire to share information, expertise, and knowledge.
  • Initiating continuity plans for the 311 Call Center operations, including having agents take calls remotely if needed and address questions.

Youth

The City encourages everyone who is able to stay home with their children to do so. However, many children in the community need a place to be safe and receive meals.

  • Health and Social Service Centers will remain open to provide critical services.
  • Family and Community Services will host programs for children run from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm at all community centers and will offer meals to children. Programs are limited to 45 students per community center and registration is required. Community centers will be closed to the general population.
  • Head Start and Early Head Start programs, also called Child Development Centers, will be operational.
  • Spring break programs will be operating and will be extended by an additional week. They will begin March 23 through April 3. These programs are limited to a set number of students and registration is required.
  • APS Playground Recreation programs at APS facilities are canceled while schools are closed.
  • APS is offering meals to all youth under age 18 at all schools from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, Monday through Friday through April 9.

Facilities/Public Events

The City encourages everyone who is able to stay home to do so.

  • All City and County libraries will be closed through April 15.
  • City pools and aquatic centers will be closed through April 15.
  • The City is closing the café and indoor exhibits at the BioPark through April 15. The outdoor exhibits will remain open until further notice. The BioPark is the aquarium, botanical gardens, zoo, Tingley Beach and Heritage Farm.
  • Indoor cultural facilities including the Albuquerque Museum, Explora, Balloon Fiesta Park, Casa San Isidro, are closed through April 15, except for limited registration programming.
  • The City is canceling all events booked by third parties in indoor City facilities through April 15.
  • Outdoor activities in City Parks, Open Space, and outdoor athletic facilities can continue if they do not exceed the State’s public health order, until further notice.

Transportation

The City encourages everyone who is able to stay home to do so.

Albuquerque Sunport

  • Following all federal guidelines and policies related to airport operations.
  • The Sunport’s custodial staff has increased cleaning and sanitation of high-touchpoint public areas, added additional cleaning of restroom facilities, and is continually monitoring and filling public hand sanitizer stations.
  • The Sunport has ensured that cleaning products utilized throughout the terminal are on the EPA’s list of recommended disinfectants.
  • As the situation continues to evolve, airline flight schedules may change or be reduced, affecting flights into and out of the Sunport. As such, passengers are encouraged to contact their airline directly for information pertaining to upcoming flights.
  • The Sunport has a continuity of operation plan in place to take any necessary action to protect the welfare of travelers and employees of the Sunport. Officials will continue to monitor the situation and work with federal, state, and local agencies to determine any necessary action.
  • The Sunport encourages people to pick up arriving passengers outside of the terminal.
  • Saturday the Mayor announced that there will also be new question screening for arriving passengers

ABQ RIDE Bus Service and Sun Van

  • ABQ RIDE is using a comprehensive approach to keep fixed route and Sun Van riders and drivers as safe as possible.
  • Service is running as normal, and ABQ RIDE is reminding riders to frequently wash their hands, cough into their sleeves, and call the NMDOH hotline if you feel you have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • ABQ RIDE increased nightly cleaning and sanitation of each bus and Sun Van, bringing in 10 additional temporary staff to assist with that workload.
  • ABQ RIDE will place new information about any service changes or updates on its message monitors at ART platforms, push notices on the ABQ RIDE App, ABQ RIDE website, Text2Ride service, social media platforms, and signs on fare boxes on the buses. 311 is also a great resource for people looking for information.

Senior Affairs

The City encourages seniors who can stay home to do so. However, many seniors in the community need a place to receive services and meals.

Recreation and Fitness

  • Senior, Multigenerational and 50+ Fitness Centers remain open for seniors who need them for services including meals. However, all events at these centers have been canceled or postponed. Those events include: Bingo, flea markets, dances, and special events.
  • Additionally, many smaller events and activities at Senior Affairs are volunteer-led and some of those organizations and individuals have elected to postpone or cancel, including Silver Horizons Food Pantry. Seniors are encouraged to contact their Senior Center or group representative to check the status of an activity.

Tax Preparation Services

  • Most Senior Affairs Centers are still honoring tax appointments; however, walk-in tax preparation at Barelas Senior Center provided by the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, has been postponed until at least April 6, due to a volunteer shortage.

Transportation

  • Transportation, Care Coordination and the Senior Information Line (505-764-6400) are all operating as usual.

As a reminder:

We urge those who believe they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 to call the New Mexico Department of Health at 855-600-3453. This is the number to call for inquiries. 911 should be used for medical emergencies only. Trained experts at this hotline will determine whether medical attention is needed, and provide direction.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the flu with fever, coughing, and trouble breathing. The virus is spread person to person through respiratory droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. The City is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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