What we are doing at NMDOH
The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) is actively responding to the novel coronavirus that is causing community spread in the United States including New Mexico. Since late January, NMDOH began publishing weekly press releases and information on our website to help New Mexicans keep updated on the current situation and on professional guidance to stay healthy. Additionally, two 24/7 Coronavirus hotlines have been created to answer any health-related and non-health-related COVID-19 questions or concerns.
We hold multiple web conferences with hospitals, emergency medical services, childcare organizations, universities, and schools to provide updates, guidance for preparing and responding to the possibility of cases in New Mexico, and to answer questions that our response stakeholders have. We use the Health Alert Network for the healthcare community to update them on current response activities and guidelines for diagnosis, infection control, and notification procedures should they identify a high-risk case.
Monitoring and Screening
New Mexico has identified cases of COVID-19. We are currently working to identify cases as early as possible and implement isolation procedures to prevent further spread of the virus. Due to increased statewide test capacity, all New Mexico residents can receive testing through their provider or screening and testing sites that are available throughout the state. Testing is available to individuals with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and without symptoms.
We are also actively monitoring the hospital bed capacity in New Mexico and the availability of facemasks, respirators, and other personal protective equipment needed for infection control. We are working with healthcare facilities to be prepared if there are shortages and to implement alternative sites for healthcare if needed, and to increase the supply of personal protective equipment.
Since March 12, 2020, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has issued a series of public health orders and executive orders in an effort to mitigate the widespread community transmission of COVID-19.
Emergency Response Planning
Based on years of planning for the next influenza pandemic, a virus that is similar to the novel coronavirus, we have adapted our plans based on current knowledge of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. We have focused on measures to track the cases identified in New Mexico, to prevent spread of infections through social distancing, to ensure continuity of the healthcare system where patient volumes may require supplemental care sites, and to anticipate special approaches to effectively manage the needs that New Mexicans have for information and healthcare services. We are also stepping up our efforts to communicate what we know about COVID-19.