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New Mexico orders COVID-19 quarantine for Arizona travelers

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New Mexico orders COVID-19 quarantine for Arizona travelers

Restriction covers visitors from 45 states

  • N.M. Gov. MIchelle Lujan Grisham at a June meeting.
    courtesy New Mexico In DepthN.M. Gov. MIchelle Lujan Grisham at a June meeting.

Arizonans visiting New Mexico will have to self-isolate for two weeks under a new COVID-19 public health order that covers travelers from "high risk states." The measure is part of a response to the "alarming rising tide" of coronavirus cases there, which the governor called a "severe emergency."

N.M. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham also barred gatherings of more than five people and ordered establishments that sell alcohol to close at 10 p.m. as a new wave of coronavirus hits that state.

Under the order, issued Friday and in effect immediately, travelers to New Mexico from states with "a 5% positivity rate or greater over a 7-day rolling average, or a positive test rate greater than 80 per 1 million residents, must physically separate from others in a residence or place of lodging for at least 14 days from the date of their entry into New Mexico or for the duration of their presence in the state, whichever is shorter."

The order covers "anyone traveling by airplane, public transportation, or vehicle."

Travelers from only five states — Washington, New York, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont — are not included under the New Mexico order.

“This is the most severe emergency New Mexico has ever faced,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “If New Mexico’s COVID-19 spread continues to spiral out of control, our state hospital and health care infrastructure will not be able to support the unprecedented health care needs of sick and dying New Mexicans. I cannot be more clear: The moment to turn the tide has to be right now, immediately, or else we face accelerating significant illnesses and needless deaths for hundreds of New Mexicans. The state will be forced to hunker back down. The health and economic consequences caused by the continued out-of-control spread of the virus will be devastating."

“Please stay home. If you must go out, wear a mask. If you must go out, do not congregate in a group," the governor said. "Avoid indoor activities where the virus spreads more easily. Please, do not wait for COVID-19 to take a loved one of yours to take this virus seriously. We all have a role to play in protecting our state, in saving New Mexican lives. We will overcome this together. But, again, now is the moment."

Trip Jennings of New Mexico In Depth reported Friday that "twice in as many days this week the number of daily infections has shattered New Mexico's single-day record. And as we did in March and April, suddenly we're hearing that COVID-19 might overwhelm our state's health care system if we're not careful. Hospitalizations have jumped 74% since Oct. 1 and some intensive care units in Albuquerque are already full."

In Arizona, 738 new COVID-19 infections were reported Friday, with 17 new deaths from the virus. Friday's positive testing rate for Arizona was 9.9%.

229,486 Arizona residents have confirmed reported positive tests for a COVID-19 infection, with 5,806 state residents who have now died from the disease.

Pima County has had 26,769 residents with confirmed positive tests, and 633 have died from coronavirus here.

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