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Mayor Keller Primes City for Resurgence of COVID-19

City girding for pandemic resilience, urges residents to help maintain progress and prepare for the long haul

July 10, 2020

Following a week of increases in COVID-19 cases across New Mexico and nationally, Mayor Keller prepared the city for a resurgence of the virus in and outlined the City’s continued response.

Like many cities around the country, Albuquerque has seen a recent increase in COVID-19 cases following more re-opening measures. As of July 8, Bernalillo County is averaging just under 80 new cases per day and about 1 new death per day. Bernalillo has a total of 2,816 cases and 94 deaths. On a relative basis compared to Denver, Austin, Phoenix, Tucson, and El Paso, Albuquerque is still far lower in cases per 100,000 residents, demonstrating that the metro area is one of the healthiest cities in the region. Albuquerque was one of the first cities to demonstrate and distribute masks.

The City continues to help the state police with education and enforcement in the metro area, and since July 1 has issued over 60 warnings and given out information on State statues over 270 times. There were 119 complaints made regarding COVID-19, and a total of 401 businesses were educated on COVID-safe practices and requirements.

“As a City, we have been helping with education and enforcement of each of the State’s public health orders and will continue to do so through a multidepartment effort with AFR, Environmental Health, Code Enforcement and APD,” said Mayor Keller. “At the same time, we are providing the safety net for the societal damage the pandemic leaves in its wake. We quickly ramped up our work for the most vulnerable and have delivered over 200,000 meals for seniors, childcare for working families, rental assistance, medical care for the homeless, and helping hundreds of local businesses stay afloat.”

Albuquerque residents have also continued to step up. There have been over 150 sets of donations made to the City, including 7,000 fabric face coverings, 3,000 bottles of bleach and sanitizer, as well as food and clothing. The total value of the donations is over $179,000.

Throughout the pandemic, the City has kept equity at the center of response and recovery efforts. “We have seen our nation’s attention went from coronavirus to Black Lives Matter and now it’s back to coronavirus but we can’t forget these efforts actually intersect, they are deeply woven together,” noted Keller. “The City’s crisis response recognizes factors including people who are low income, people of color, or people experiencing homelessness being targeted or shamed for non-compliance. For many, staying at home is luxury they don’t have.” 

Mayor Keller called on residents of Albuquerque to keep working to stop the spread of the virus, saying, “We can each directly play a role in again flattening the curve and reopening our city by adhering to the public health order: wearing masks, maintain social distancing, stay home when possible and avoid large groups. I understand that ‘corona fatigue’ is very real—our lives changed overnight when this started. So many folks lost their jobs, lost their childcare options, and life as we knew it turned upside down. Some buckled down for a while, but now they are tired of it. We need to remember what we are fighting for here. We must rise above shaming each other. We have a common enemy to defeat, and it is the disease that is claiming lives of New Mexicans.”

To support businesses that are now required by City ordinance to post notice that masks are mandatory, the City is making this graphic available for download here.

The Mayor also closed with comments to prepare the city for the long haul, stating that these changes might last months: “As city we must do what we can, but also prepare for the long haul. Unfortunately all across the nation we are seeing that there is no silver bullet without a vaccine, and even with the best compliance it’s likely cases will increase and we need to begin to prepare for dealing with this for the next 12 months. Going forward, at the City we are going to be working on scenarios for how to keep the safety net in place, how to support the most vulnerable, how to keep our city operating, and how to think about the economy should these restrictions last months. We also know this city over the last six months has proven to be one of the healthiest large cities in America; and our spread rate, positive case numbers, testing ability, available hospital beds and ample outdoor recreation have provided hope for us, and made us role model for other cities. All of a sudden Denver, Austin, and Phoenix don’t look so good. We stand out as an urban space for those newly working from home and as a base for stable employers, and this is the future we going to continue to demonstrate.”

See the complete slideshow here: