Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Seventh Quay County case confirmed


July 8, 2020

The seventh confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported Monday in Quay County as New Mexico saw its fifth consecutive day of reporting more than 200 cases.

Also Monday, Mesalands Community College closed its fitness center after a member tested positive for the virus. The center has been closed. All of Building A, which houses the fitness center, will be closed Tuesday for disinfecting.

According to the state Department of Health, the latest Quay County case was a man age 20 to 29. No other information was available.

The previous case, a teenage male, was reported June 26.

Josh McVey, public relations coordinator for the college, said in a phone interview the fitness-center member contacted the college just before noon Monday that he or she had tested positive for COVID-19. Mesalands immediately closed the facility and will disinfect the building Tuesday, which had been closed except to essential staff since the pandemic began.

McVey said the infected individual last used the fitness center Thursday evening. McVey said he didn't know how many people have access to the facility.

McVey declined to give any more information about the infected individual.

More than 620 people have been tested for the virus in Quay County so far. Of the county's seven cases, three have recovered, with one death.

The state's coronavirus total Monday was 254. The number approached 300 on Saturday.

More than 13,500 cases in New Mexico have been confirmed with the virus, with 515 deaths as of Monday.

More than 5,900 have been deemed as recovered from the disease.

In the U.S., more than 2.9 million people have been confirmed as having the virus, with more than 130,000 deaths.

New Mexico Human Services Secretary David Scrase said last week during a governor's briefing the recent rise in COVID-19 across the state was “really, really concerning.” The spread rate for the virus in New Mexico stood at 1.20; the goal is 1.05 or lower.

In the Southeast region that includes Quay County, the spread rate rose from 1.17 to 1.66 in a week.

The percentage of New Mexicans younger than 30 years old that have contracted the disease has nearly tripled since March.

Quarantine confusion

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's imposition last week of a 14-day quarantine for all out-of-state visitors coming into New Mexico caused confusion among many who happened to be traveling in or planning a journey to the Land of Enchantment.

The June 30 order states travelers must self-isolate or self-quarantine for 14 days or the duration of their stay, whichever is shorter, from the time they arrive in New Mexico. The order remains in effect through at least July 15.

Lujan Grisham said during a briefing last week she understood the order would have an effect on tourism, but the state is “staring down the barrel” of having steep COVID-19 surges such as Texas and Arizona's.

She said people who commute across state lines for work are exempt from the 14-day quarantine, but she encouraged employers to allow remote work.

Exemptions to the quarantine also include airline workers, those performing public safety of public health functions, military personnel, federal employees, those employed by a federal agency or national defense contractor, first responders, healthcare workers, those required to be in the state because of a court order, essential workers and those traveling into the state for business activities.

David Brenner, co-owner of the Roadrunner Lodge Motel in Tucumcari, said the order prompted a few cancellations of reservations and confusion from customers.

“It’s not like they have to come stay at my place for 14 days,” he said. “That’s what it was like on some phone calls: ‘Am I going to be stuck in New Mexico for two weeks?’”

Overnight travelers are instructed to self-isolate in their motel rooms except when they need to get medical care.

“You’re actually able to break that (quarantine) for your personal welfare. So, it’s confusing,” Brenner said. “How strict are they going to be with that quarantine rule? I don’t want to be the Gestapo.

“It’s a little bit weird being a hotelier with his order.”

Al Patel, owner of the Desert Inn motel in Tucumcari, said he also saw a few cancellations after the order, plus inquiries about its requirements and what his motel offers.

“There is some summer travel, but nothing like what we usually see, tourism-wise,” Patel said. “These are just regular interstate travelers.”

Brenner agreed tourism numbers are way down this summer because of the pandemic.

“I’m probably getting more last-minute reservations than ever before,” he said. “Usually, this time of year, I get a lot of advance reservations. Right now, people are traveling only because they have to. Therefore, they’re doing (hotel stays) last-minute; they’re not planning in advance. I’m seeing almost zero tourists.”

Hospital policy

Trigg Memorial Hospital in Tucumcari announced last week it revised its visitor policies to limit the spread of COVID-19 “while acknowledging the importance of visits for patients in our care.”

Trigg is allowing one visitor per patient in inpatient settings. Before entering the facility, all visitors will be screened for fever and other health conditions and be required to wear a mask.

More about the policy may be found at https://www.phs.org/covid19/visitor-policies/Pages/default.aspx.


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2020

Rendered 01/22/2021 13:07