New Mexico public health emergency declaration: What does that mean?

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – One of the biggest announcements the Governor made was declaring New Mexico a public health emergency. So what does that mean?

In short, it means all hands on deck trying to prevent the spread of the virus and the city of Albuquerque is jumping and looking at changing their emergency laws. “The large announcement for today is I am declaring a public health emergency,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham during a press conference on Wednesday morning.

New Mexico now joins several states that have declared public health emergencies because of the coronavirus. With this emergency declaration, it now opens the door for more money.

“So the state of New Mexico is probably going to get 5.9 almost 6 million dollars of federal money for this particular event,” said Dept. of Finance Deputy Secretary Debbie Romero. With this emergency declaration, New Mexico could dip into the state’s nearly $2-billion emergency funds if needed but they said they’ll use the federal funds first.

All this money could help the government stay afloat to provide services. The funding could also help buy extra medical supplies and help with the testing process.

“It makes clear that the General Services Department will be in charge of making sure that goods and supplies, when you have a public health emergency, will be available,” said the governor.

Now, the state’s Department of Health secretary could order quarantines for the public if the virus gets out of hand. The DOH could also bring in more healthcare professionals to help.

“Including credentialing healthcare workers from around the country and potentially other countries, like Canada, can be made readily available to the state of New Mexico,” said the governor.

With the virus finally making its way to the state, Albuquerque city officials are trying to rework the city’s emergency laws. “We’ve introduced legislation to update the city’s emergency powers to be sure the Mayor has the tools he needs to move staff around, move money around, respond to these issues as they happen,” said Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis.

Albuquerque’s proposed emergency legislation could allow the mayor to close areas that attract large crowds, including athletic events, theaters, even daycare centers. They’ll bring this up for a vote at Monday’s council meeting.

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