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

By Lily Martin
Staff writer 

Clovis mayor urges residents 'move forward in a positive way'


Last updated 11/16/2020 at 5:36pm

CLOVIS -- Mayor Mike Morris expressed frustration on Monday – frustration with the governor’s health orders that close and restrict most businesses, but also frustration with a virus that is surging across the region and state.

“I’m frustrated to hear the reports from the hospital that people in Clovis and our area are sick and sick enough to need hospitalization,” Morris said in a live-streamed press conference. “I’m also frustrated that businesses once again are being made to close or drastically limit their operations.”

Plains Regional Medical Center interim Administrator Jorge Cruz told Morris during the conference that PRMC had 27 COVID-19 patients on Monday, including five in intensive care.

While the numbers are lower than last week, Cruz said they’re still concerning because each day the number of patients exceeds projected data estimates. Cruz said if the pattern continues PRMC will be at 70% to 75% capacity by the end of the month with approximately 36 COVID patients, including 15 in the ICU.

“COVID patients require additional resources, so it can pull your normal staffing model a little thin,” Cruz said. While the facility is not understaffed at the moment, Cruz said the situation has created an “overwhelming feeling” in the hospital.

Cruz added that PRMC has hired contract labor to help with the work load, and the hospital has partnered with the Dr. Dan C. Trigg Memorial Hospital in Tucumcari to relieve each other if need be.

Morris, appearing emotional at times, said the combination of the illness and its impact on the economy has many in the community feeling frustrated.

“I’m frustrated too,” he said. “I’m frustrated that the phrase ‘non-essential business’ has made its way to the top again. I don’t believe that any business is not essential. I believe if you ask the owner of any business or the employees of any business they would say that they are essential.”

Morris said he argued last week with the governor’s staff about her new health order, especially over the impacts it has on small businesses. He said the restrictions on small businesses seem unfair because businesses are not causing the spread.

He also said he has continually argued against the tighter restrictions and for factual information to be used to impact citizens’ decisions instead.

Morris said a new daily COVID-19 update will be started soon, which will use hospital statistics to inform the community about the virus’ spread. He hopes that the “facts not fear” approach will tell the public what it needs to know to make informed decisions and have more individual responsibility when it comes to health orders and the virus.

“As much as possible I would like to see us move past negativity and disagreement— disagreement with government and too often disagreement with one another. We need to find common ground and a common goal and move forward in a positive way,” Morris said, “Let’s shake off the ideas that some of us have had, that COVID maybe isn’t such a big deal, or maybe it’s just political. That isn’t true. Let’s rise above that and see this for what it is. It’s a public health crisis.”

Morris said he is “pleading” with the community to follow health and safety orders for four main reasons he has been citing for months -- for healthcare workers, the schools and their students, for Cannon Air Force Base, and for the local economy.

He said the community cannot stay in a place of frustration and should instead move forward using the strategies the state has supplied. While not all agree on how the pandemic has been handled, he said, we do need to find a way to move forward. This includes the “somewhat encouraging” county-by-county reopening plan that will begin in two weeks.

He ended his address citing Scripture, encouraging residents to think of others as greater than themselves and to try to love and honor each other.

New Mexico’s COVID-related death total is at 1,236 as of Monday, state officials reported. The state has 738 people hospitalized.

Curry and Roosevelt counties each reported a death related to the virus on Monday. Curry County’s death total is now at 15; Roosevelt’s death total is at 12.


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