Serving the High Plains

DOH cuts back on coronavirus reporting

In another sign of the easing of the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Mexico Department of Health announced last week it was cutting back on its reports about the disease.

Starting last Tuesday, the DOH said epidemiological reports covering COVID-19 would change from bi-weekly to monthly.

Also, the agency’s online COVID-19 Data Dashboard will be discontinued and archived on May 11.

“These changes reflect the new phase of COVID-19 that we are in today,” DOH Deputy Secretary Laura Parajon said. “We will continue to actively monitor trends related to COVID-19, but with fewer COVID-19 tests being taken and inconsistent reporting of home COVID-19 tests, the day-to-day numbers are not as meaningful as they once were.”

Through Friday, nearly 2,600 cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in Quay County, with 70 deaths, since the pandemic began in early 2020.

NM Notify, New Mexico’s COVID-19 Exposure Alert system, also would be shut down on May 11.

The system was supported by the Association of Public Health Laboratories in partnership with Google, Apple and Microsoft. The national resources that made the system possible no longer are going to be available after May 11.

During the pandemic, a majority of New Mexicans activated the NM Notify app on their phones. More than 1.5 million notifications were sent to users who may have had exposure to COVID-19 to become infected.

“We are proud of how well New Mexicans picked up and used this technology to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said Daniel Sosin, an epidemiologist with the DOH. “NM Notify was an important tool early in the pandemic, and 54% of New Mexicans with smartphones activated the app. We will need this tool in the future, and we will be ready to use it even more effectively.”

Users of NM Notify will be automatically notified when the application no longer is operational. They will not need to do anything at that time.