Background on COVID-19
The Center of Disease Control (CDC) is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in almost 70 locations internationally, including the United States. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).
On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC). On January 31, 2020, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency (PHE) for the United States to aid the nation’s healthcare community responding to COVID-19.
Status of COVID-19 in New Mexico
As of March 27, 2020, there are 191 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in New Mexico.
In response to the firm confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in New Mexico, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham declared a Public Health Emergency on March 11, 2020, to address the global crisis.
You can follow updates from the New Mexico Department of Health.
Precautions NMCD is taking in response to the virus
- ALL inmate visitation has been suspended.
- Each staff member is being medically screened before they begin their shift at every facility.
- Inter-facility transfers are limited to need-based only.
- Volunteer access has been suspended through the end of April.
- Phone call access has been increased in all facilities and inmates are being given one no cost call per week.
- All inmates are being provided with additional materials to communicate with family by mail.
- Outside work details were suspended.
- Interstate compact transfers-in are temporarily suspended.
- Family events, volunteer activities, inmate clubs, and banquets were postponed through the end of April.
- In an effort to maintain meaningful activity for our inmate population, education and behavioral health services and classes will be unaffected.
- All Parole Board Hearings are being conducted via video conference.
- All admissions from jails and courts are being redirected to the New Mexico Corrections Department’s Reception and Diagnostic Centers at Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Los Lunas for male inmates and to the Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in Grants for female inmates.
- Each facility will be medically screening inmates upon arrival.
- Probation and Parole offices are exploring alternate methods of offender supervision. Officers remain committed to supervising offenders that present public safety risks to our communities.
- Necessities including medical services, behavioral health services, access to religious supplies and staff chaplains, food service and recreation are unaffected.
- Our information technology office is working to bring video visitation into our facilities.
- Wardens and deputy wardens at all facilities conducted town hall meetings with inmates on March 12, 2020 to prepare them for changes to visitation procedures. Since that time, they have been continuing to walk facilities to keep everyone informed about changes within facilities.
- Leadership in all facilities and region offices have been walking offices and facilities talking with staff, and conducting town halls and meetings with staff. They will be including your union leadership in these meetings and will be present at your shift changes to provide you with updates and make themselves available for questions.
- Facility and field managers have placed signage regarding proper hand washing, hygiene, information regarding COVID-19 symptoms, and numbers to contact the Department of Health throughout facilities and offices
- Our agency Public Information Officer has been sending weekly updates to NMCD staff.
- Bi-weekly video conferences with facility and field leadership and union representatives continue to take place.
- As a public safety agency we are trained in emergency response procedures. We are taking safety precautions involving sanitation procedures and we have procedures in place to respond if anyone in our facilities presents with symptoms. We are prepared to implement medical separation.
- Inmates continue to have access to legal materials in each facility.
- To schedule an attorney phone call, please contact your facility directly.
- For questions regarding legal visits, please contact Patrick Guerin at 505-827-8884