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Mayor Continues Local Response to Coronavirus as First Presumptive Positives are Found in New Mexico

City recommends health precautions, takes next steps on regional public health response

March 11, 2020

In response to the first presumptive positive cases of coronavirus, Mayor Tim Keller continued the City’s weeks-long work to coordinate with local and state government agencies and institutions by activating the City’s Emergency Operations Center and Joint Information Center.

Mayor Tim Keller released the following statement on community response efforts:

“The City has been preparing for coronavirus over the past several weeks—working with hospitals and other government agencies to be ready. Every member of the public has a critical role to play in making sure Albuquerque contains and reduces the risks associated with the coronavirus.

“We are activating our Emergency Operations Center and Joint Information Center to coordinate the response, banning out-of-state travel for all employees, and readying to enact telework policies. In local government we are on the front line of civic life. It is our responsibility to answer this call to action by continuing our operations that the public relies on every day. So many of our City workers are the public’s safety net, from police and paramedics, to sanitation and 9-1-1 operators. Our City leaders and workers are mobilized to support the most vulnerable in our community.

“We are urging the public to take personal precautions, stay home if you are sick, avoid unnecessary social interaction and large events, and wash your hands. And don’t forget to call your neighbors and family to check up on and support each other as much as possible. This is the time for thoughtful preparation and community spirit.”

At this time, all City offices, programs, and services are operating as normal. The City will continually update the public on operations across its various departments as the situation evolves. The City is also taking the following actions:

Citywide

  • Activating City Emergency Operations Center and Joint Information Center to coordinate response
  • Banning non-essential out-of-state travel for all employees
  • Encouraging employees to use teleconferencing and email to replace face-to-face meetings

Public Safety

  • Prioritizing continuity of critical public safety services, and City first responders are ready and prepared to serve and lead the local response
  • Participating in national networks of emergency medical providers through Albuquerque Police and Fire to share information, expertise, and knowledge
  • Initiating continuity plans so 311 Call Center operations are not interrupted, including having agents take calls remotely if needed and address questions

Facilities

  • All City facilities, including the Sunport; Westside Emergency Housing Center; Senior, Community, and Multi-Generation Centers; and all Public Transit vehicles and facilities will be periodically slated for additional cleaning
  • Following all federal guidelines and policies related to airport operations

Public Events

  • Following NCAA guidelines on national championship events that limit participation to athletes, essential staff, and their families
  • Reviewing other upcoming public events and events at City facilities for potential postponement or cancellation

Mayor Keller and City leaders, Bernalillo County, Albuquerque Public Schools, and UNM Health Sciences Center officials will hold a press conference tomorrow, March 12th, at 9:30 AM at the Emergency Operations Center, 11510 Sunset Gardens Road SW, Albuquerque, NM 87121.

“While all current confirmed cases in New Mexico appear to be connected to travel, we should all be taking enhanced preventative measures at this time,” said Environmental Health Director, Ryan Mast. “This should include practicing personal health hygiene and minimizing your activities in public spaces to reduce potential exposure.”

“We urge those who believe they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 to call the New Mexico Department of Health at 855-600-3453. This is the number to call for inquiries. 911 should be used for medical emergencies only. Trained experts at this hotline will determine whether medical attention is needed, and provide direction.  It is critical that anyone experiencing symptoms not go straight to doctors or hospitals, potentially compromising medical resources,” said Dr. Mark DiMenna, Environmental Health Deputy Director.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the flu with fever, coughing, and trouble breathing. The virus is spread person to person through respiratory droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. The City is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation.

The Mayor is also reminding all Albuquerque residents that discrimination is against the law and should be reported to the City of Albuquerque Office of Civil Rights. Stigma and xenophobia will drive suspected cases underground and aid the further spread of the virus. Avoid spreading misinformation. Coronavirus does not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, or any other demographic factors, and neither should we. Speak up if you hear, see or read misinformation or harassment. Show compassion and support for those impacted by stigma.

The hoarding of cleaning supplies, soap, food and water or other basic goods is also inappropriate and detrimental to the community’s ability to respond as needed to this crisis.

Last month, Mayor Keller assembled City of Albuquerque officials and representatives from various regional agencies to coordinate and respond to COVID-19.

Stay up to date with current Coronavirus FAQs and any future changes to City scheduling at: https://www.cabq.gov/environmentalhealth/news/city-of-albuquerque-coronavirus-faqs.