COVID-19 Joint Information Center - March 23, 2020
COVID-19 Joint Information Center - March 23, 2020
The Joint Information Center, JIC is comprised of Public Information Officers representing several organizations, across Doña Ana County. The group conferences regularly to share information and continuously update each other and the community, regarding concerns related to COVID-19 and assess its impact on Doña Ana County residents. Information will be disseminated through traditional media channels and updates are posted to the Doña Ana County website at www.donaanacounty.org and at www.las-cruces.org/AlertCenter.aspx.
City of Anthony
Report from Oscar Dominguez: All business with the Motor Vehicle Department will be done by appointment only to try and control crowds. Lines out the door were becoming hard to manage. Other windows – police records, business licenses – remain open, but the lobby is limited to no more than 10 people at one time.
The municipal court remains open Monday and Wednesdays only for limited hours, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The public is encouraged to check the City of Anthony’s website for current updates: www.cityofanthonynm.org
City of Sunland Park
The city is moving to telework as much as possible. Sunland Park Police, City Hall, and Public Works are still operational. The fire department has implemented a new self-screening protocol to self-screen staff. A spreadsheet is tracking that information and can be made available as a template if any other agency would find that helpful. Additionally, there is a protocol for staff to get medical attention related to COVID-19 symptoms, should they need to.
City of Las Cruces
City Hall remains open – most doors are propped open to reduce the need to touch surfaces
Customers can pay utility bills in the Customer Service area – though they are still encouraged to do so online, through auto-draft or pay by phone.
Community Development, however, has made some operational changes,
Building permits/Business Registration Lobby has closed to the public limiting exposure.
Permits and business registrations are operational and available online at: https://aca.accela.con/lascruces/Default.aspx.
The Community Development Department continues to offer online services for: Application submittal for Commercial and Residential permits and Business Registrations, Pre-application meetings conducted via “Go to Meeting” or conference call, Issuance of building permits, Checking the status of your project permits, Inspection requests, Interactive video inspection (when an inspector is requested), and Payment submittal.
In-person visits with Community Development Department staff will be conducted by appointment in City Hall Conference Room 1158.
A sign-in sheet is at the entrance. Visitors are asked to provide: name and cell phone number, then asked to wait either in their cars or the entry patio to city hall for their cell phone number to be called on at a time.
For information, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 575/528-3059.
Las Cruces Police Department
Still open for business. Today (Monday) is the only day the Records window is open. Crash reports available online, other records incident reports can be collected up until 4 p.m.
Concerned, like most other first-responders, on how to avoid being exposed. We will work internally on developing best practices to keep everyone healthy.
Las Cruces Public Schools
The staff continues to provide breakfast and lunch. Working closely with Instruction to get resources online for students. Hosting a district-wide Spirit Week this week. Dr. Trujillo posted links online of her reading her favorite book to students.
Intense cleanup continues at all LCPS campuses and buildings.
Doña Ana County
As of today, Government Center is closed but all critical services continue. Drop boxes available to those who need to leave payments or plans with county personnel. Most everyone is now working from home. Clerk’s office moved to telework on Thursday; things are running smoothly so far. The regularly-scheduled Board of County Commissioners meeting is still on track for Tuesday, March 24 at 9 a.m. Staff is working to make that more accessible to anyone who wants to join and have input.
Food distribution continues, and there is meal delivery in Radium Springs. The county had its first food distribution in partnership with Casa de Peregrinos in Vado with about 200 in attendance. Promotoras continue to field calls, helping seniors to get meals. The county continues to work with the State Aging and Long-Term Care department on efforts to deliver senior meals in most rural parts of the county. According to county officials, this is a very grassroots effort, with neighbors helping each other. Health and Human Services are currently exploring opportunities with Las Cruces Taxi to see if its possible to expand that contract and assist with meal delivery options. A question was posed to DOH officials to see about identifying opportunities to have coronavirus sample collection sites in the southern part of Doña Ana County. From DOH: That is a question for staff currently at Burrell, and will be relayed to them. Could they be tested in El Paso? That’s a question for El Paso authorities, but local DOH officials report that Las Cruces screening sites have had people from El Paso coming through the line.
The county’s Planning and Zoning meetings are still moving forward as scheduled, with efforts made to reduce personnel and deploy digital resources where possible.
Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office
Moving forward, DASO continues to re-evaluate some internal systems and will look at pre-screening employees for symptoms. Still looking at Wednesday to open the lobby for records. Many are working from home, skeleton crew at the office.
Village of Hatch
Town of Mesilla
The municipal court will be closed Tuesdays and Thursdays; will continue normal operations on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays until further notice.
Memorial Medical Center
Over the weekend, MMC hosted a community testing site and thanked LCPD for their help in keeping traffic moving orderly and without incident. MMC has expressed a need to implement any procedure that would alert hospital staff of anyone coming into the facility who might have been exposed to coronavirus. Currently, law enforcement is working with central dispatch personnel to finalize that practice.
Additionally, the outpouring of support from the community has been phenomenal.
In response to queries about adequate supplies of PPE, ventilators and available ICU beds, both hospitals are confident that current supply levels are acceptable, but should we see a spike in the number of positive cases requiring hospitalization, those supplies and resources could become critically low. In response to alternate care locations, both hospitals have identified such locations in the event they were needed.
Mountain View Regional Medical Center
There was a question regarding the functionality of the EOC (Emergency Operations Center) and when it would open. According to OEM, as of right now, local resources have not been overwhelmed. Jurisdictional authorities have not requested the EOC to stand up. Requests from MMC and Mountain View have been relayed to the state and are being addressed. There has been a Costs Unit established for tracking purposes. In summary, there are daily discussions on if or when to stand up the EOC, and that will come from a local authority to do so. The resources supporting the EOC are currently allocated to the DOH and the JIC; long-term sustainability is the question.
New Mexico State University
Late Friday, NMSU notified students that if they left town for Spring Break, there is no reason for them to come back. All classes are online as of March 30. If students need to collect items, those logistics are being worked out on a case-by-case basis. Will likely push out more info today about library access.
New Mexico State University Police
No updates Monday, aside from the fire department is using an on-campus quarantine unit for travel-related self-isolation.
Office of Emergency Management (OEM)
Tomorrow at BOCC, OEM will present what they’ve been doing so far. Efforts are underway to loop in the City of LC (David Maestas) so the council can also join. Over the weekend, the emergency manager observed many people in our community are not following protocols advised by DOH. Questioned need for local authorities to host a joint news conference to remind the public and stress the importance of what those urgent needs are: stop hoarding, practice social distancing, and other ways we can stop the communal spread. As testing continues, we are likely to see more positive cases. Cullen advised he now has an 1100 conference call with state authorities, asked if we could hold the local JIC call at 10:00 a.m. Unless otherwise directed, calls will now be at 10:00 a.m.
Dan from LCPD advised the joint news conference should observe the six-foot rule and could possibly be held at the City of Las Cruces where it could be televised. Jennifer Martinez, also on the call, will look into feasibility of hosting conference possibly Tuesday, March 24 following Governor Lujan Grisham’s press conference today.
Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility
Lt. Reyes – no other change from the last update. The staff is currently working on a program to provide video visits for inmates with immediate family members.
State of NM Aging & Long-Term Illness
No contact on Monday; will try again Tuesday.
Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority (MVRDA)
From Hugo Costa: when dispatchers do interrogation on calls, they have started asking if the caller has traveled outside of NM. Also checking for fever, cough, other symptoms related to coronavirus and asking if they are under self-quarantine. Have developed a protocol to identify persons exhibiting symptoms. Hugo has also met with the City of LC fire chief, who has mandated that only one person enters a residence on a call for service to mitigate exposure. Staff-wise at MVRDA: Five individuals have opted to self-quarantine who had traveled out of state. Quarantine is over, and they are fully staffed.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, El Paso Sector
Business as usual in El Paso Sector; Personnel have been pulled away from projects at Sector office and have been moved to the field. Travel at ports of entry (POE) has been restricted to essential crossings only. There has been an increase in turning people away who do not fit criteria which can affect crossings at locations other than the POE. They have stepped up manpower in response to that. Implemented protocol for agents who might have been exposed – no matter where the apprehension takes place, isolation will take place in El Paso. Aside from that, BP is working with state and local agencies and remains available as needed during the crisis.
New Mexico Department of Health
Anticipating a news conference with the governor at 3 p.m. Monday, where she is expected to clarify which businesses are to stay open, and which ones aren’t. Additional social distancing directives could come from that conference but specifics are not known at this time. DOH will continue to provide updates on the weekend sample collection sites.
Turnaround on testing takes three to four days. All samples are sent to two labs in Albuquerque – one state scientific lab and TriCorps. TriCorps is reportedly purchasing additional equipment to aid in response.
This week, Burrell is underway for sample collection. Wednesday, DOH will host screenings in Taos, NM. Nothing else scheduled in Las Cruces as of right now.
March 23, 2020 1:38 PM
TODAY: Governor, state officials to give public COVID-19 update
SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham will be joined by state officials at 3 PM today, Monday, to give a public update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and to make an announcement regarding a statewide stay-at-home instruction.
The address will be broadcast live on Facebook at facebook.com/GovMLG. The Legislative Council Service will livestream the update on its website, nmlegis.gov, under the “Webcast” tab.
Due to the need for social isolation and the imperative to avoid gatherings and face-to-face contact to the greatest extent possible, state officials last week strongly encouraged state media associations to arrange for a pool-style rotation of reporters who will attend the update and share information among outlets. The need to disseminate information is as great as the need to keep our distance; cooperation between outlets is greatly, greatly appreciated.
News outlets are permitted one credentialed reporter each inside the Capitol. Camera personnel will be limited to one per outlet as well. Again, media outlets are strongly encouraged to cooperate and share resources in order to minimize physical attendance.