Effort now underway to provide testing in select cities

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH)’s State Scientific Laboratory (SLD) now has capacity to test for COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. The tests kits, provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), allow the Department of Health to test several hundred patients without having to send samples out of state for testing.

The State Scientific Laboratory not only expects more test kits to arrive imminently, it is also working with TriCore Reference Laboratories to establish testing at select locations across the state.

“Testing at SLD will be provided at no cost to New Mexico residents,” said NMDOH Cabinet Secretary Kathy Kunkel.

The Department of Health is currently reviewing suspected COVID-19 infections in patients throughout the state. Testing will be considered for:

  • Patients showing signs of illness but who test negative for more common respiratory illnesses and have traveled to a country with a level 3 travel warning such as China, South Korea, Italy and Iran;
  • Patients hospitalized with a severe respiratory illness, such as pneumonia, without an alternative diagnosis – regardless of travel history, and
  • Some specimens from patients around the state with flu symptoms who test negative for influenza.

Healthcare professionals who suspect COVID-19 should immediately notify infection control personnel at their facility and contact the New Mexico Department of Health at: (505) 827-0006.

The COVID-19 virus continues to spread globally, and community spread has increased or been detected in multiple countries and the west coast of the US Community spread means that cases have been confirmed in patients who haven’t traveled internationally nor been around someone diagnosed with the virus.

The Department of Health continues to ask all New Mexico residents returning from travel to China, South Korea, Italy and Iran to call our 24/7/365 Epidemiology Hotline at 505-827-0006 for guidance on how to protect yourself and your community from COVID-19, even if you are not sick.

While NMDOH is actively monitoring and planning for the likely arrival of the novel coronavirus, it is important to remember that it is still flu and respiratory virus season. We remind everyone to wash your hands frequently, cover your cough, and stay home if you are ill. These same steps are also effective in preventing contracting COVID-19.

For the latest information about the COVID-19 virus in New Mexico, visit our novel coronavirus webpage: https://cv.nmhealth.org/ .

Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.