According to the New Mexico Environment Department, there were more than a thousand rapid responses since May 25. However, according to the list, when an employee tests positive, it appears there haven’t been widespread outbreaks because of it.
A McDonald’s in Clovis, a Pizza Hut in Farmington, and a Blake’s Lotaburger in Grants all have had rapid responses. Many of the more than 1,000 businesses listed on the state’s rapid response list are fast food joints and restaurants. That includes Standard Diner in Albuquerque. “It was positive,” Standard Diner General Manager Zach Work said. “It was a positive experience.”
Work said the state contacted him within two days of his employee testing positive. “They were pretty comprehensive,” Work said. “Phone calls and emails took up a good six to eight hours of my week this past week.”
Work said only four of his 20 employees were in contact with the person and got tested. Like most other businesses on the list, no other employees tested positive. However, there were some outbreaks including at Stampede Meat, Inc. in Sunland Park where 17 out of 337 employees were infected. Six out of 48 workers got sick at an Applebee’s in Santa Fe. Many grocery stores are also on the list.
A map of the top ten counties for rapid responses as of Thursday shows Bernalillo County is number one with 444. The much smaller Lea County has had 51.
The state does not require businesses to publicly announce COVID-19 infections, so what about the diners or shoppers who have visited these places? “That employee had not worked in quite some time,” Work said. “We felt there was no risk of exposure to the public because of no public interaction.”
While schools, Intel, and stores report cases, Environmental Health Secretary James Kinney said healthcare and restaurants are the top two industries they respond to. “We ask employers to work with us, temporarily pause operations and test employees as directed,” Kinney said in a press conference on July 30.
“We are happy to know someone is watching and kind of following up,” Work said. “Public health and safety is number one on our list at all times.” Work said they do have contact tracing at the restaurant, but he said very few people leave their information.
Each day the New Mexico Environment Department updates their rapid response data. If you click on the “rapid response data” link on the New Mexico Environment Department’s website, an Excel spreadsheet will download to your computer with the latest information. To see the latest up to date information, you will have to click and download the data daily.
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