As part of the state’s proactive testing efforts to identify, isolate and trace new cases, the Department of Health has designated special statewide COVID-19 testing hours for all employees who work to provide New Mexican families with food, including workers at restaurants, grocery stores, farmers’ markets, distribution centers and food manufacturing facilities.
“Our essential food industry workers continue to help New Mexican families access food,” said New Mexico Environment Department Cabinet Secretary James Kenney. “Now we can help our essential food industry workers access proactive testing for COVID-19. Food industry employers are strongly urged to take advantage of this testing.”
“Broadscale testing will ultimately result in more lives saved,” said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Kathy Kunkel. “Even as we reopen, COVID-19 is still out there, and we must continue to be vigilant.”
“Part of the New Mexico Restaurant Association’s mission is to ‘protect the hospitality industry in New Mexico,’ and we feel that encouraging participation in this widespread testing effort is our duty under that promise,” said Carol Wight, Chief Executive Officer of the New Mexico Restaurant Association. “Making testing readily accessible to our industry protects our employees and customers, and we ask that every New Mexico restaurant consider doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by encouraging their staff to get tested.”
Many people who are infected with coronavirus may not experience any symptoms while still having the potential to pass the virus onto others, making largescale testing incredibly important in preventing its spread – and keeping New Mexico on a path toward reopening the economy.
Testing as many food industry workers as possible builds consumer confidence while helping employers minimize their occupational risk of an asymptomatic employee spreading the disease in the workplace. If proactive testing identifies a positive case, the New Mexico Environment Department and Department of Health will contact the employer about the appropriate next steps to take to prevent the spread of the virus, including disinfection and follow-up testing. Proactive testing can minimize disruption to operations.
Testing is available 8-11 a.m. every Monday, beginning June 15, at the locations listed. Testing is free, but those who have insurance should bring their card with them. Appointments are required and must be scheduled by noon the preceding Friday by calling a local public health office.