LAS CRUCES, New Mexico — The New Mexico Department of Health updated Las Cruces city leaders, local healthcare providers and the public on the state's coronavirus plans Thursday afternoon. (You can watch it in the video player above.)
That briefing in the council chambers at Las Cruces City Hall included a presentation by state officials followed by a question and answer session.
The state has also launched a website dedicated to COVID-19, with tips on how to best avoid transmission and what to do if infection is suspected.
New Mexico has no known infections since starting testing this week for people with an elevated risk of infection because of travel and other factors.
Health Department spokesman David Morgan said the first two tests were negative.
State health officials indicated they are placing a new focus on safeguarding the state’s elderly population from potential transmission of the new coronavirus.
“We are now specifically identifying our elderly population as a vulnerable group,” Morgan said.
The U.S. Health and Human Services Department has awarded an initial $500,000 to the state for enhancing testing and surveillance. State officials are awaiting guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how best to allocate those funds.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and breathing trouble. Most develop only mild symptoms. But some people, usually those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia, which can be fatal.
Health officials said that precautions can be taken at public gatherings such as “social distancing” that includes staying at a distance of 6 feet from other people.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)