Alva Review-Courier -

New Mexico offers COVID-19 testing for utility workers


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico health officials are offering coronavirus testing for utility workers as part of a statewide effort to keep essential workers in various fields safe and healthy.

Friday's announcement by the state Department of Health covers those workers who ensure the continued operation of critical infrastructure such as electrical, water and wastewater systems.

The special testing hours being set aside for utility workers also is meant to help the state with identifying, isolating and tracing new cases of COVID-19. State officials said during an online update Thursday that they're still working to reach their testing goals.

New Mexico has nearly 9,400 cases and 420 people have died from complications of the virus. Just over half of the state's cases are in McKinley and San Juan counties. Hundreds of cases also have been documented in state and federal jail populations in New Mexico.

For some people, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the new coronavirus can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. For most, it causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough.

State health officials said many people who are infected may not have any symptoms but still have the potential to pass the virus to others. They said that's why large-scale testing is important to prevent its spread as New Mexico begins allowing more businesses to reopen.


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