The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Local entities combating coronavirus spread

 

March 15, 2020

Kevin Wilson

Curry County maintenance employee Charles Johnson sanitizes a chair Friday afternoon at the county administration building. Johnson was going through each county office and sanitizing all surfaces and entrances out of an abundance of precaution to novel coronavirus.

With information often changing by the hour, area entities worked over the last few days implementing numerous procedures they hope will "flatten the curve" with the coronavirus pandemic.

Cancellations, postponements, closures and extensions of breaks came from nearly everywhere, with the only certainty being that if your upcoming function had a chance to attract 100 people, it was postponed or canceled due to a state Department of Health order banning gatherings of 100 or more.

Postponements include the Lions Club Gun/Knife Show, the Floyd Country Jamboree and numerous events at the Clovis Civic Center and Curry County Events Center.

Thursday night saw Gov. Michelle Lujan-Grisham cancel public school across the state for the upcoming three weeks, and area universities have also implemented their own procedures to prevent spread of the virus while retaining instructional abilities.

Health officials are urging residents to practice good hygiene, including frequent handwashing, and to practice "social distancing." The goal, officials have said, is to prevent a spike in cases that would overwhelm healthcare systems and also endanger people needing treatment for unrelated medical issues.

According to a release from Roosevelt General Hospital, symptoms of the virus usually appear 2-14 days after exposure and range from mild to severe and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These symptoms are similar to the flu, as they are both viruses that cause respiratory illness. The difference is influenza is spread via respiratory droplets and COVID-19 is spread by breathing in shared air of an infected person. As with all viruses, there are no antibiotics to cure the flu or coronavirus.

The state has set up two phone hotlines for questions about COVID-19. Health-related calls go to 855-600-3453, and calls about any other concerns go to 833-551-0518.

Here's a rundown of what various entities have done in recent days:

Eastern New Mexico University

The college, which was on spring break this past week, extended that break through March 22 for students. Following the extended break, classes will be transitioned into online or alternative formats.

• Employees are instructed to report to work as usual Monday unless otherwise directed by a supervisor, and the college will provide guidance on social distancing and preventative measures.

• Students are asked to regularly monitor their school email accounts for updates on how instruction will commence when break concludes.

• Any large events and gatherings sponsored by the university are canceled through April 15. Questions on events can be directed to the university's office of student affairs.

• Any out-of-state travel is suspended until further notice unless granted by the appropriate vice president or chancellor.

• The university will address needs for students currently residing on campus through the break, or those who are unable to travel home or find other housing arrangements.

• Students are largely encouraged to stay home and practice appropriate social distancing and preventative measures as outlined online at:

cdc.gov

• Updates are posted online at: enmu.edu/UniversityOperations

Clovis Community College

According to the college website:

• The campus, including the health and fitness center, will be closed to the public and students Monday through April 5.

• Classes will resume April 6 and be moved to an online format where possible. Students are asked to contact their instructor for directives on instructional requirements.

• Employees are asked to report to work as normal Monday unless directed otherwise by a supervisor. Employees will receive guidance on social distancing and enhanced preventative hygiene.

• Spring break will continue as planned March 23-27.

• All events and gatherings sponsored by the college, or any events scheduled at CCC facilities, are canceled through April 5.

• Information is available at 575-769-4969, [email protected] or online at: clovis.edu/coronavirus

Wayland Baptist University-Clovis

Wayland Baptist University will transition to an online delivery format for all classes at all campuses until April 6. That includes the Clovis campus. A university news release said WBU will continue to monitor the coronavirus situation and adjust the schedule if conditions dictate.

Cannon Air Force Base

According to a statement from J.P. Rebello of the CAFB public affairs office: "Cannon AFB is monitoring and tracking all of our deployed members' locations, including those in South Korea and Italy. Additionally we have implemented the Public Health Line to screen all members when travel has occurred in the vicinity of China, Iran, Italy, South Korea. This can also include members who have had contact with any positive COVID-19 cases, to include airport layovers or those members who have self-identified that they've been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Members arriving from high-risk locations are placed in a 14-day quarantine."

A message asking about the location of the quarantines was not immediately returned.

City of Clovis

Residents are encouraged to follow Facebook updates at the CityofClovis and ClovisCurryCountyLEPC pages.

Updates will be available online at: cityofclovis.org/coronavirus

City of Portales

City Clerk Joan Martinez Terry said the Portales Senior Citizens Center has canceled the Thursday potluck for the next two weeks.

Also, the city recreation program reports sports activities will be delayed until further notice.

Martinez Terry said other events may be affected but had not been discussed or considered as of Friday.

Nursing homes

Area nursing homes had, as of Friday, restricted visitors and/or visiting hours, and in many cases have screening procedures at the facility entrances.

On Saturday, the state health department added new requirements to nursing homes, limiting visitation to people whose loved ones are receiving end-of-life care.

Additionally, when limited visitors do come in:

• They should have their temperatures taken as a condition of entry, and visitors with a temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit or signs of respiratory infection should be barred from entry and advised to seek medical attention.

• Upon entry, they should thoroughly wash hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are not available;

• They should be escorted by facility staff to and from the patient's room

• At no time should they be out of the room unescorted.

Area hospitals

Plains Regional Medical Center officials said they are following Centers for Disease Control isolation guidelines, including asking patients with respiratory symptoms to wear a mask when entering the facility and placing patients with identified COVID-19 risks in an isolation room during assessment.

Any surge in patients, Presbyterian Communications Director Melanie Mozes said, "would be accommodated through triage and transfers to other facilities in New Mexico, in close coordination with the New Mexico Department of Health."

In Portales, RGH has asked community members not to visit the hospital unless necessary.

"At the front line, registration staff are providing masks to patients presenting with respiratory illness including symptoms and/or fever," Infection Control Director Jesse Gleaton-Croke said. "From there, these patients are seen by a provider or nurse to quickly identify the respiratory illness symptoms, fever, travel history and possible exposure and isolate these patients."

 
 

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