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Letter to the Observer: Governor addresses COVID-19 concerns

Editor:

My fellow New Mexicans: As governor and your neighbor, I want to thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we face down the COVID-19 pandemic on multiple fronts and with every tool we have available.  

We’ve been preparing for this since long before the virus appeared in New Mexico, and I’m confident that by being proactive — and with your continued support and cooperation — we will minimize the impact of COVID-19 on New Mexico.  

Here’s how you can support yourself, your neighbors and our communities:

Social distancing is the best tool we have to protect ourselves and the most vulnerable New Mexicans, and my executive orders suspending mass gatherings and temporarily closing public schools will greatly further that goal.  

So, please, understand that right now the bottom line is this: Stay home. Leave for only the essentials. Even if you don’t feel sick! This is the best way to reduce the risks of spread.  

Additionally, we’ve ended most visitation at nursing homes and imposed rigorous protocols for the visitors who are admitted — all to make sure we protect those whose health is already compromised, putting them at high risk for the worst outcomes from COVID-19. If you have a loved one in care, please remain in touch by phone for the time being.  

We’ve made it so you can get your MVD needs met online and by appointment only. We’re arranging for school meals to be provided to students during the duration of the school closures.

We’re doing everything we can. We are all in this together, New Mexico. 

That’s the best way we’ll weather this storm. 

Community spread occurs when an infected person coughs, and tiny droplets containing the virus are inhaled by others or land on hard surfaces, where they can survive for hours to be picked up on your hands. Because the virus can be spread before symptoms occur, it’s essential that you keep your distance from other people in public places; clean and sanitize frequently touched surfaces, and — I know you’ve heard it before — wash your hands frequently with soap and water. This virus hates soap! 

Even as we hope to avoid broad community spread, we are preparing for it by expanding our surveillance work every day to quickly pinpoint new cases and working hard to assure we have the medical professionals, personal protection gear, hospital beds, oxygen and ventilators that could be needed. That’s not panic; it’s preparation. 

If you’ve been out of the country or out of state recently, self-isolation for 14 days will protect your fellow New Mexicans from possible contagion. If you develop symptoms — fever, cough, shortness of breath — call our hotline at 855-600-3453 for instructions.

You can stay up to date on the latest information at NewMexico.gov. 

And remember: We’re all in this together. 

Very kindly, I thank you.

Michelle Lujan Grisham

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