Health officials ask parents not to send students to school if they are sick

Coronavirus New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – State health officials are keeping a close eye on where New Mexico stands with COVID-19 and as schools are reopening across the country, they’re also keeping an eye on cases in children. The state is mostly on track with its gating criteria for reopening safely. State health officials gave a modeling update Tuesday cautioning families not to send kids to school if they appear sick.

“This isn’t like back in the day when my parents told me to just suck it up and go to school even when I was sick, this is a pandemic we’re in now, and please get the word out,” said Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase in a webinar.

Dr. Scrase shared statewide COVID-19 data showing New Mexico is meeting most of its targets. Although the spread rate is slightly up. He also shared data from our neighboring state.

Texas has seen more than 4,500 cases show up in schools in the past four weeks. With 990 students testing positive, up almost 50% for the week of September 7. Here in New Mexico, two of the largest school districts are still doing online learning in Albuquerque and Las Cruces.

Although New Mexico does track confirmed cases by age groups, KRQE News 13 asked Tuesday whether the state knows just how many kids are getting tested in New Mexico.

“Because birth date is in there, we ought to be able to calculate those age bands – we just have to look into where that data is stored right now and how we can pull it together,” said Dr. Scrase.

Health officials say that data could be useful as more schools reopen down the line. Dr. Scrase also mentioned the prevalence of underlying health conditions saying 40% of adults in the U.S. are obese and therefore at higher risk of having complications with COVID-19.

Some good news, data from the southern hemisphere shows a relatively mild flu season which health officials say is a good sign as we look to winter. That state says we’re up about 6,200 flu shots ahead of last year’s pace and they encourage everyone to get one.

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