New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham gave a public update via livestream on March 23 concerning the state’s response to COVID-19. The announcement was held at the state capitol in front of a limited audience.
Gov. Lujan Grisham gave an update on the number of tests and cases in the state. As of March 22, 5,400 tests had been administered statewide. The state currently has the capacity to administer 850 tests a day with current limited supplies. As of March 23, there had been 83 total cases statewide. These cases are in 11 of New Mexico’s 33 total counties. Of the 83 COVID-19 cases in the state, nine have required hospitalization, one of which was an Arizona resident. Five of those nine are still hospitalized currently.
Gov. Lujan Grisham then issued a statewide instruction that beginning March 24, all non-essential businesses are to suspend business until further notice. She further defined what businesses are essential, which include health care operations, grocery stores and childcare facilities. The full list of essential businesses can be found at newmexico.gov.
This restriction also prohibits dine-in eating and basic retail. Residents are instructed to stay at home when leaving is not absolutely essential. The instruction also reduced the size of gatherings to groups no larger than five individuals. The governor emphasized that New Mexicans have a social responsibility to one another to do everything in their power to reduce the spread of COVID-19. She also accentuated that as more testing is conducted, there will be more COVID-19 cases throughout the state. She encouraged residents not to panic due to this. The overall goal is to minimize the spread, and following the state’s instruction is the best way to accomplish this, according to Gov. Lujan Grisham.
“I need you to heed this order, and I need every New Mexican to do their part. You owe it to your family, your neighbors, your friends, and your community,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham.
She said the state does have the legal ability to enforce this instruction, and those in violation can receive penalties. Individuals are encouraged to report incidents of non-compliance by calling the non-emergency state COVID-19 hotline at 1-833-551-0518.
Regarding recent concerns about the negative effects on the economy due to the nationwide shutdown, Gov. Lujan Grisham said her priority is keeping New Mexicans safe and preventing the collapse of the healthcare system. Beyond this, she said the state will do everything in its power to address economic concerns and repercussions. She went on to say that she has remained in consistent contact with Congress as well the White House in order to best deal with the issues being faced and meet the needs of New Mexicans.
Gov. Lujan Grisham emphasized the importance and necessity of residents adhering to the new statewide instruction. She thanked the many workers all over the state who are providing essential services.