NM Environment Department’s Rapid Response data, website causing confusion

Coronavirus New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – If you’re curious if a business you go to has seen any coronavirus cases or an outbreak, you can go to the state’s website to see if they’ve had a so-called rapid response, from health officials. But that site can cause some confusion. There have been outbreaks at nursing homes around the state.

Princeton Place reported 37 cases at one point but if you look at that website, some of those nursing homes are not even listed and others only show one or two cases. The Environment Department says that’s because they’re only keeping track of the number of cases that spark the rapid response, which is usually a single case.

“Resources – especially if you’re talking about rapid responses, those being rapid, being done quickly and nimbly by our team; that’s really what we’re focusing on here,” said a spokesperson for the Environment Department Maddy Hayden.

Hayden says the main goal of the spreadsheet found on their website is to tell people which businesses have had rapid responses, not how many cases each business has seen. the spreadsheet does list repeat rapid responses.

For example, Wal-Mart on Coors and Rio Bravo is listed three separate times because they’ve had rapid responses crews go out there four times. Hayden says they don’t have the resources to update the number of cases every day when they conduct a rapid response. They make sure they contact everyone that has been exposed and tell them to quarantine for 14 days. But once the rapid response is complete they do not keep track of how many of the exposed actually contracted the virus.

“While I understand the public’s need for information at this time, we really have to weigh: Do we want to dedicate staff time to going back and trying to track and update the spreadsheet with hundreds of entries each day?” Hayden said.

News 13 asked why La Vida Llena and other places with high-profile outbreaks were not on the spreadsheet. They say it’s because those outbreaks happened before they started tracking rapid responses in May. Healthcare facilities, restaurants, and stores are the three most common targets of rapid response teams.


New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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