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NM police deny making stops to enforce coronavirus order

SANTA FE – New Mexico State Police and other law enforcement agencies across the state say they're not making traffic stops to enforce a statewide stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

State Police, the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office and the Las Cruces and Los Lunas police departments made announcements Friday, with several saying they were aware of rumors on social media that officers were stopping drivers to enforce the order.

The order, which took effect Tuesday, includes a stay-home instruction and a ban on mass-gatherings and calls for residents to refrain from any unnecessary travel or congregation.

The order allows residents to travel for necessities including – but not limited to – groceries and supplies, for health care services, exercise, and to and from work that's deemed essential.

State Police are the primary enforcement agency but the agency said officers are not stopping vehicles on the road to ensure compliance with the state order.

“New Mexico State Police is not making traffic stops to ensure the public or their travel is considered essential. New Mexicans can leave their house while following the guidelines of the Emergency Public Health Order,” State Police said.

New Mexico as of Saturday had 208 coronavirus cases and two deaths, though officials say lack of testing and other circumstances means the case numbers are lower than reality.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

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