Almost 1,900 New Mexico businesses with multiple on-site COVID infections have been placed on a “watchlist” by the state under a new program announced by Environment Secretary James Kinney during the governor’s COVID-19 updates Tuesday afternoon.
The Environment Department revealed a new public dashboard listing businesses where more than one COVID-19 positive case from employees, customers or visitors occurred. The new “watchlist” will be maintained by the New Mexico Environment Department whose agency oversees the state’s rapid response teams responding to businesses where COVID-19 cases were traced to workplaces.
The new rules apply beginning Friday, October 23rd.
Businesses with two or three cases traced to the workplace must pause while state investigators conduct an investigation, Governor Lujan Grisham announced.
On the fourth positive case, the business must close for 14 days to prevent the spread of the virus.
According to the first list of data provided by the state, 1,870 business locations met the multiple on-site tests standards under the new watchlist criteria.
Major business and employment centers, including Walmarts and Home Depots, were included along with hundreds of locally-owned small businesses ranging from an ice cream shop in Taos, to a Harley-Davidson dealership in Farmington to a car dealership in Roswell.
“We know shuttering businesses statewide would be devastating economically for our state, Lujan Grisham said. “I am determined to avoid that untenable scenario, if we can, and so I am determined to try aggressive and strategic mitigation before reaching for that emergency measure. We know a lot more about this virus than we did earlier this year. We know that spending time indoors when not at home is a primary vector for transmission. We know that spaces where individuals cannot wear masks – such as food and drink establishments – enhance the risk of transmission. We know out-of-state travel enhances the risk of transmission. And we know that ten cases become one hundred and one hundred become one thousand very, very quickly. That’s why we are targeting the areas where risk is greatest and where cases are piling up – and hopefully we can sustain workers and livelihoods and beat back this virus and buy much-needed time for our health care system as we once again flatten the curve and stabilize the public health conditions in New Mexico.”
Many public institutions included on list
An initial scan of the state’s new watchlist showed a number of public institutions, including the Albuquerque Police Department, New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell and the Eddy County Sheriff’s Department.
Read more at The Paper.
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