Environment Department releases updated COVID-19 Watchlist List includes establishments with two or more rapid responses within the last 14 days
The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) has updated its daily Rapid Response COVID-19 Watchlist, which includes New Mexico places of employment that have had two or more rapid responses in the last 14 days. There are currently 88 establishments on the Watchlist.
The state initiates a rapid response when it learns of a positive COVID-19 case in a workplace. The state agency initiating the rapid response will offer direction to establishments regarding testing, quarantining and isolating, disinfecting, and COVID-Safe Practices.
The Watchlist includes:
-Organizations for which NMED conducts rapid responses, including grocery stores, restaurants, retail stores, gyms, salons and business offices.
-Pre-K-12 public and private schools, early child care facilities and higher education institutions. The New Mexico Public Education Department (PED), Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) and Higher Education Department (HED) conduct rapid responses at these locations when employees and/or students test positive.
-Home health agencies, rehab centers, recovery centers and other outpatient healthcare entities where the Department of Health Division of Health Improvement (DHI) conducts rapid responses. DHI conducts rapid responses when employees of these entities test positive.
-Long-term care facilities, including skilled nursing homes and assisted living facilities where the Aging and Long-Term Services Department (ALTSD) conducts rapid responses when a staff member and/or resident tests positive for COVID-19.
-Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) facilities, including residential treatment centers for youth and youth shelters. CYFD conducts rapid responses when staff and/or residents test positive.
The Rapid Response COVID-19 Watchlist allows the public to make more informed decisions when patronizing establishments and also assists NMED’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau and other state and local regulatory agencies in evaluating whether organizations are complying with state public health orders and COVID-Safe Practices. State regulatory agencies may initiate compliance investigations and/or exercise enforcement when establishments fail to adhere to required practices.
The current public health order mandates certain establishments close for two weeks if they have four or more rapid responses within the last 14 days. The closure requirement applies to food and drink establishments, retail spaces, places of lodging, close-contact businesses as defined in the Nov. 13, 2020 public health order, and essential businesses (other than healthcare operations, utility and media services).
When there are four or more rapid responses at a location within 14 calendar days, the New Mexico Environment Department will refer the establishment to the Department of Health, which will evaluate and make the decision on establishment closure.
An establishment may be permitted to continue operating if the Department of Health, after consultation with the New Mexico Environment Department, determines that the business is a sole provider of goods or services within a community, or if they have committed to regular surveillance testing of their workforce.
If a school has four rapid responses in a 14-day period, it must close within seven calendar days and remain in remote-only learning for 14 days.
Only the individual school that reached the rapid response threshold is required to return to remote learning.
The current Rapid Response COVID-19 Watchlist and closure list, which includes all establishments that have been required to close, are posted here.