COVID 19 Update March 23, 2020
As of Sunday night, there are 65 cases of coronavirus in New Mexico with 10 in Santa Fe County. 5,368 tests have been performed so far, with about 700-1,000 tests per day over the last few days. That means only 1.2% of all those tested are positive in New Mexico, compared to over 10% of all those tested coming back positive in the entire country.
Another piece of good news for New Mexico is that we’ve ramped up testing faster than any other state or country in the world. At just 7 days into the epidemic in New Mexico (last week) had tested more per capita than any other country. The NM Department of Health is aggressively finding and tracing positive cases, and because NM is testing more broadly than many places, we can be assured that we are finding many, hopefully most, of the positives that exist in our communities.
Even though seeing the number of cases go up gives us anxiety, we have to expect that for the next few weeks, and remember that the cases being found today probably contracted the virus a week or two ago. That was just about the time New Mexico started aggressively implementing closures and recommending social distancing and self-quarantines for anyone coming back from out of state travel. Hopefully the results of these measures will be seen in the next two to three weeks and positive case counts continue to rise slowly and eventually to start to come down.
La Familia Medical Center (LFMC) is working to implement several telemedicine options to better serve patients without coming into the clinic. LFMC is also screening all patients and staff before they enter the clinic so that those who are ill with any respiratory illness are separated from those who are not. If you have to come to the clinic, LFMC is working to create a safe space for you. If you have a scheduled appointment but it’s not urgent and you’d like to reschedule, or see if you can substitute a telephone call with your health care provider, give us a call (505.982.4425) to arrange that.
As before, if you have any respiratory symptoms or if you’ve traveled out of state in the past 2 weeks and you have a scheduled appointment, please call LFMC before coming in to see if your issue can be handled over the phone or via telemedicine.
If you think you may have symptoms of coronavirus, call LFMC and if your provider thinks the symptoms fit, you will be referred for testing to one of Santa Fe’s testing sites at Presbyterian Hospital or Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center. You may also call the Department of Health hotline at: 1-855-600-3453.
Many have asked what you can do to help our community. First of all, you can help your neighbors, especially those who are older or might be at higher risk for coronavirus; check in on them and help them with shopping. And please, when you do go shopping, buy only what you need. Help us all with social distancing by having your neighbors designate one person do the shopping for a block—that way only one person goes to the store rather than 4 or 5.
If you can sew, La Familia Medical Center is organizing a drive for homemade cloth masks to hand out to community members who can’t do social distancing, like the volunteers and guests at our homeless shelters and those who work at other social service agencies. This will help reserve the high grade surgical masks for health workers who need them most.
LFMC is also looking for donations of other materials for the clinic including bleach-based cleaning products and wipes, hand sanitizers, and surgical masks, eye goggles and gowns.
If you’d like to help our hardworking staff and also support struggling local businesses, our staff love it when folks bring breakfast or lunch or drop off other treats, contact Gloria Martinez, Development Director (505.955.0302, or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org) to coordinate these donations.
Finally, as LFMC has encouraged patients to stay home and worked to respond to their needs while keeping them out of the clinic, patient visits have decreased quite a bit; which is LFMC’s main source of revenue. LFMC also had to cancel our annual chocolate extravaganza fundraiser which was to be held last weekend. If you are able, we would greatly appreciate any contribution you can make to help us continue to serve our community. Please call Gloria Martinez Development Director (505.955.0302, or via email: email@example.com) to coordinate or visit our website at www.lafamiliasf.org to make a donation.
LFMC is so proud of the way the entire Santa Fe community has come together to fight this virus. We are already flattening the curve! Keep up the excellent work Santa Fe. It’s an honor to care for and serve you.
Dr. Wendy Johnson, MD MPH
Chief Medical Officer
Here are the symptoms associated with COVID-19 and how they compare with symptoms of the common cold, the flu, and allergies: