ICYMI: Democrats At Every Level of Government are Taking Smart Action to Address COVID-19

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ICYMI: Democrats At Every Level of Government are Taking Smart Action to Address COVID-19

New Mexico Democrats have been working to secure resources, increase testing, and keep the public informed

With the recent announcement of seventeen cases of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, in New Mexico, our state’s leadership has been working around the clock to ensure that this pandemic can be contained as efficiently and safely as possible. 

Throughout this critical week, New Mexico’s elected officials have been working to make sure that our state is healthy and informed. Democrats at the federal, state, and local levels of governments are coordinating in order to ensure that we react quickly and effectively to this public health crisis. 

Take a look at some of the ways Democrats have been working at the federal, state, and local level to address COVID-19: 

FEDERAL: 

Together, New Mexico’s Senators and Representatives were part of ensuring that Congress passed $8.3 billion in emergency funding to combat the novel coronavirus, provide access to critical resources, and protect our communities last week. Our delegation has also supported the Families First Response to Coronavirus Bill, which passed the House on Friday and will provide paid leave, establish free testing, protect health care workers, and provide important benefits to children and families.

Several members of New Mexico’s Congressional Delegation have launched online Coronavirus Info Centers, which provide up-to-date information to constituents about how to protect themselves and their families. Our entire delegation is working closely with Local, State, and Tribal leaders to coordinate their response to this public health crisis. 

As Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Senator Tom Udall led a bipartisan group of Senators who called on Vice President Mike Pence to engage with Native communities and Tribal leadership as part of the response to COVID-19. He also signed on to a letter asking the Trump administration to consider how their response to the virus could affect workers and families. 

Senator Martin Heinrich has been working to reduce the economic impacts of the novel coronavirus on hardworking families including supporting a bill that would allow all workers to take paid sick leave and working to create child nutrition programs during school closures.

Representative Ben Ray Luján has been fighting for federal resources for New Mexicans and making sure that New Mexican communities have access to the most up-to-date information about the novel coronavirus and are aware of the best ways to protect themselves and their families. 

During a House Oversight Committee meeting on Coronavirus Preparedness and Response, Representative Deb Haaland pushed Trump Administration officials to explain why President Trump cut public health funding, downplayed the threat of COVID-19, and refused to cancel campaign events. 

Last week Representative Xochitl Torress Small led the New Mexico delegation in the House in co-sponsoring the bipartisan Border Health Security Act of 2020, which would increase our capacity to address infectious diseases, especially at our borders. 

STATE:

New Mexico’s state government has been preparing across all agencies for the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic in New Mexico, resulting in prepared measures addressing the public health emergency without panic.

Governor Lujan Grisham and the state Department of Health are taking critical steps to make sure New Mexicans practice social distancing, including instituting public health orders to minimize crowds and public gatherings in order to stem the spread of COVID-19 and protect New Mexicans.

Governor Lujan Grisham has been prioritizing preparedness and public health, directing state agencies to protect state employees by minimizing person-to-person contact while ensuring that essential public health and safety services continue for all New Mexicans.

Governor Lujan Grisham and her administration have been putting out numerous critical resources for New Mexicans, including the NMDOH COVID-19 health hotline and information on both unemployment insurance and small business loans for those economically affected by the public health emergency.

Governor Lujan Grisham and her Public Education Department took action to close K-12 schools statewide to mitigate the risk of community spread of COVID-19, taking care that children will continue to be fed with grab-and-go meals, education personnel will continue to be paid, and school-based health centers will remain open.

Governor Lujan Grisham and the state Department of Health have taken measures to protect New Mexico seniors, directing nursing homes and assisted living facilities to limit visitors in order to protect their vulnerable populations from the spreading novel coronavirus.

Governor Lujan Grisham is also taking into account the economic impact of the virus, and the Superintendent of Insurance has prohibited insurers from imposing copays or deductibles on testing and health care services related to COVID-19. 

In her addresses to the public, Governor Lujan Grisham has encouraged New Mexicans to stay calm and be proactive in order to protect themselves and their communities, reiterating that all New Mexicans should stay home when possible.

LOCAL:

Last month, Mayor Tim Keller convened City of Albuquerque officials and regional agencies including local government, education, and healthcare to coordinate the regional response to COVID-19. Keller activated the City’s Emergency Operations Center and Joint Information Center.

Mayor Keller moved quickly to adapt City programs to increase social distancing, decentralize field operations for critical services like police, fire, sanitation and transportation, and made sure no City employee has to choose between staying home when they are sick and receiving a paycheck.

The City of Albuquerque runs many programs and facilities that serve the most vulnerable, and is taking steps to ensure senior meal programs continue, local businesses have access to resources, community centers are converted to provide childcare including meals, and people experiencing homelessness have access to screening and testing for COVID-19.

In Santa Fe, Mayor Alan Webber has been working with the Tourism Department to review upcoming events and cancel or reschedule in order to protect New Mexicans from further contact with the novel coronavirus. 

Mayor Webber has been providing regular updates online and directing New Mexicans toward trusted sources of information about COVID-19.

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