Belen Mayor concerned over low COVID-19 test supplies | KOB 4

Belen Mayor concerned over low COVID-19 test supplies

Brittany Costello
Created: May 20, 2020 06:44 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — As state officials continue announcing the expansion of their COVID-19 test capacity, one New Mexico city is actually running low on supplies.

The Department of Health said there might be a reason why.


After a big testing event in Belen on Tuesday, Belen is now trying to stretch those local resources.

Any leftover testing supplies will be used Friday during their normal testing times, but city officials said they don’t know when they will receive more supplies.

Department of Health officials said a change in that supply chain may be to blame.

From the beginning, the race was on. Belen, like many New Mexico communities, immediately started working to gather supplies and increase resources.

“Since April 1., when we had our first testing by appointment, we have had regular testing twice a week on Wednesdays and Fridays and for the most part that has been uninterrupted,” said Belen Mayor Jerah Cordova.

Cordova said they test about 50 people a day during each of those designated days.

The Department of Health said Tuesday that they had an even bigger turnout for a special testing event that had more than triple that amount of people.

With relaxed testing criteria, Mayor Cordova said there’s been increased interest.

“Because of that a higher number of people are getting tested, which is great, that’s what we want to see, but at the same time it’s causing some difficulty in getting the supplies,” said Cordova. “We need to continue that testing regularly within the last week or so we had some concerns with having adequate swabs available.”

While they have the necessary resources for this week, he said there is concern for the coming weeks.

The Department of Health said since the beginning, New Mexico has sought out testing supplies. The supplies are now overseen and allocated by FEMA.

The new process, they said, has caused a few bumps in the road. Health officials said those tests are still prioritized for those most in need.

“As we begin reopening it does increase the danger and we want everybody to be as safe as possible a part of that is making sure we can test people as quickly as possible,” said Cordova.

Health officials said 4.7 percent of residents in Valencia County have been tested with only 1.8 percent actually testing positive.

Department of Health officials said while the testing supply chain has changed somewhat, they haven’t seen any major decrease in testing capacity. They were previously at 5,200 tests per day, which has now decreased to 4,800.



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