Winter storm forces some COVID-19 testing site closures

Coronavirus New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Inclement weather has forced some Department of Health COVID-19 testing sites across New Mexico to close down for the day. However, health officials say there are still resources available for people with COVID symptoms.

“If testing sites are closed at any time due to weather, we will make sure that everybody who is registered knows ahead of time what is happening, so that we can get them rescheduled,” said Marisa Maez, Acting Communications Director for the New Mexico Department of Health.

This week’s winter storm covered roads with snow and ice and forced some closures for COVID-19 testing sites across the state. Many of the state’s testing sites have set-ups outside.

‘”All of our regional directors immediately reached out to me and said, ‘We can’t have our staff out there if it’s blowing snow, and if it’s 20-30 degrees, trying to test people,'” explained Maez.

COVID-19 testing continued at Presbyterian’s San Mateo location

Maez said in some cases, people who pre-registered and had tests scheduled for Tuesday were called personally. Others may have received an email, and or text notification to reschedule.

“The best thing that anybody can do in this case is to stay home. I mean, really that’s what we’re trying to encourage,” said Maez. “We don’t want anybody out on the roads if it’s unsafe to travel, and it’s two-fold, this will also help stop the spread of COVID.”

If someone has COVID-19 symptoms, there are still places to get tested. In Albuquerque, patients are encouraged to visit Presbyterian’s indoor testing site.

On Tuesday, the DOH sent out the following message related to testing locations:

  • Santa Fe: Christus St. Vincent’s, Presbyterian, and Southwest Cares are open for testing.
  • Espanola: Presbyterian Hospital in Espanola.
  • Los Alamos: No alternate locations everyone will be rescheduled for Wednesday weather permitting.
  • Taos: This location does not test on Tuesdays. Holy Cross Hospital is open all day for testing.
  • Las Vegas: Everyone will be re-scheduled for Wednesday weather permitting.
  • Santa Rosa: This location does not test on Tuesdays. Santa Rosa Hospital is open all day for testing.
  • Clayton (satellite): Union County General Hospital is open all day for testing
  • Las Cruces: Everyone will be re-scheduled.
  • Truth or Consequences: Sierra Vista Hospital will be open for testing.
  • Chaparral: No alternate locations. Everyone will be re-scheduled for Thursday.

The following testing locations will be postponed and may open in the afternoon weather permitting:

  • Portales
  • Clovis
  • Carlsbad
  • Artesia
  • Ft. Sumner
  • Tucumcari
  • Roswell

In addition, the following locations will be canceled and anyone symptomatic, registered at one of these sites is encouraged to go to Presbyterian Hospital’s indoor testing site.

  • Expo New Mexico
  • Belen
  • Sandoval
  • Grants

The state is also updating a list of open sites statewide online. “If you are symptomatic for COVID, we want you to go get tested as soon as possible,” said Maez.

In the event weather slows the state’s ability to identify positive cases for a time, health officials say it’s all the more important people continue to protect themselves. “There has to be some data over a period of time that shows you know what, our numbers are going down,” said Maez.

“The best thing that everybody can do right now are those basic COVID-safe practices,” she added. “Wear your mask, wash your hands, social distance, stay away from large gatherings.”

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office sent KRQE News 13 the following statement on Tuesday:

As state health experts and the governor have repeatedly said, it is critical that New Mexicans stay home as much as possible and avoid contact with others in order to protect themselves and slow the spread of COVID-19 throughout the state. Testing continues to be essential to identifying and isolating positive cases, and New Mexicans should continue to get tested for the virus, particularly if they meet the criteria. Please remind your viewers that anyone getting tested should follow NMDOH testing protocols, which may include self-isolating at home while awaiting test results.

Nora Meyers Sackett, Press Secretary, Office of the Governor

New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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

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