By Mayor Alan Webber
Here in Santa Fe, we are all concerned about the spread of the coronavirus and its impact on our community, our families, and our loved ones. For that reason, I’m writing to share with you a number of things that I’ve done, that the City is doing, and that we can all do to take care of ourselves and each other.
First, over the last couple of weeks I’ve been in touch with the Governor’s Office, the County, the Santa Fe Public Schools, the Santa Fe Community College, a number of our major health care providers, and community support groups to make sure we’re all working together to secure the health and safety of all Santa Feans. I want you to know that we are all coming together to cooperate and collaborate on behalf of the whole city.
Second, before I get to the steps all of us can and should take, let me tell you some of the practical facts everyone should know:
*First, it’s important for all of us to align our efforts around a single lead agency. In New Mexico, that is the Department of Health (DOH). The Department of Health has an excellent web site that we can all use to stay up to date: https://nmhealth.org/about/erd/ideb/ncov.
*Second, at the moment there are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in New Mexico. Obviously, that’s subject to change, but you need to know where we are, as of now.
*Third, while the complete clinical picture of the coronavirus is not fully understood, the main symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Most of the illnesses so far have been mild and have not required hospitalization. Those most at risk are older persons and people with chronic medical conditions.
*Fourth, at this point our shared priority is prevention. Each of us can play a role in preventing the spread of germs.
Here are some simple steps each of us can and should take to keep the coronavirus from spreading:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Refrain from shaking hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if you have symptoms of acute respiratory illness.
- Stay home from work or school until you are free of fever, signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours and without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medications.
- Seek medical attention if you have reason to believe you have been exposed to coronavirus or influenza.
- Call your healthcare provider and let them know your concerns before you visit a healthcare facility.
- Skip the face mask: they don’t protect you from catching the disease, and those masks are really needed by the professionals providing health care.
There are a few other precautions you can take, particularly if you think you are in a group that is more likely to have to deal with the coronavirus:
- Have an adequate supply of nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand – pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
- Check on your regular prescription drugs to make sure you have an adequate supply, and refill your prescriptions as needed.
- Have a thermometer, tissues, soap, and hand sanitizer.
- Have extra non-perishable food items at home.
Finally, it’s important to have up-to-date information. The situation with the coronavirus—and our response to it—continues to evolve. Good information helps all of us have the facts we need and avoid the rumors that often circulate.
Here are a few of the best web sites where you can get reliable and accurate information:
I appreciate all of the offers of help that we’ve gotten in the Mayor’s Office. Santa Fe is a city where we all pull together, we all work together, and we all care for each other. It’s just who we are—and we should all be proud of that.
As I learn more, and as the situation changes and evolves, I’ll continue to put out more letters and web casts.
Mayor of Santa Fe