New Mexicans face long waits for COVID-19 testing, answers

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As New Mexico tries to stop the coronavirus spreading even more in the state, people are faced with long lines, over the phone and in person, when trying to get answers.

The state has two hotlines in response to COVID-19. One, 1-855-600-3453, is for health-related questions about the virus. The second line, 1-833-551-0518, is for any other questions like school closings or gathering restrictions.

Misti Chavez said when she called the health hotline to report symptoms, she had to leave a message. She did get a call back within the hour.

“I was satisfied with it. I understood it was a three-hour wait, so I was pretty satisfied that I was able to leave a message,” she said.

Nicole Arbecht called for three days when the first hotline was announced. Each time, she was on hold for over 45 minutes and never got to connected to anyone.

“Extremely frustrating and scary. We look to legislators and politicians to really have our best interest and to be protecting and when you put the resource like this to your community, and you know they’re going to depend on it, having it adequately staffed, knowing there is an influx, to me shows preparedness,” she said. “It was a great opportunity and a great resource but it just really wasn’t executed well. At least in my experience.”

KRQE News 13 reached out to the New Mexico Department of Health for more information on how the hotlines are operating but did not hear back with the information.

People are also facing long waits at the drive-through screenings.

At the PresNow location on Coors Boulevard late Monday morning, the line to get tested was so long, cars were bumper-to-bumper all the way down Western Trail and around to Atrisco Dr. NW.

“I’m shocked, I can’t believe it,” said Chavez while waiting.

A mother and son were waiting in line for over two hours and still had dozens of cars ahead of them.

“It just goes very slow but we’re committed to it. We want to do it. We want to see if it’s positive or not and go from there,” said Carlin, the mother.

Drive through testing at PresNow at on Coors Boulevard NW is available every day from 9 a.m-7 p.m.

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New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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