This story is a staff report from The Paper.

The mayor of one of the state’s leading COVID hotspots says hospital workers in southeastern New Mexico should be exempt from the statewide order requiring healthcare workers to receive the vaccine.

In a letter to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh says hospitals in Roswell and surrounding counties would close if workers were required to come to work vaccinated so they don’t infect others. (Hat tip to Alex Ross of the Roswell Daily Record who shared the letter via Twitter this weekend).

In case you were wondering, Chavez county, of which Roswell is the county seat, has a positivity rate of 16-percent, according to the latest data from NMDOH.

The governor’s office has not formally responded to the letter, but there is little chance the governor will grant the exemption.

In related news, organizers of the state Youth Livestock Expo announced that they would hold the event in Roswell instead of at the state fairgrounds in Albuquerque after the state issued a requirement requiring fairgoers to show proof of vaccine to enter.