State officials say Milne helipad will not be used to bring in Arizona patients | KOB 4

State officials say Milne helipad will not be used to bring in Arizona patients

Megan Abundis
Created: April 20, 2020 09:52 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — State leaders debunked a claim from The Arizona Republic and Sunland Asphalt that a newly installed helipad at Milne Stadium would be used to airlift Navajo COVID-19 patients from Arizona to New Mexico.

The helipad was constructed in the parking lot of Milne to be used by Presbyterian Hospital should they need to helicopter transport due to a COVID-19 case surge.

The Arizona Republic’s article, which has since issued a correction, was originally shared by many concerned New Mexicans.

“They are shipping people in from Arizona so when our residents get COVID-19, are we second to these people or what?” said Rick Sandoval, who checked out the new helipad from his car.

Sunland Asphalt sent out the information—claiming it came from Albuquerque Public Schools since they own the stadium.

A spokesperson for Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham’s office says that report is incorrect and it has no relation to Arizona or any Arizona patients.

“It’s a part of transporting patients within New Mexico when the surge hits,” the spokesperson said.

Presbyterian Hospital spokesperson Melanie Mozes said the Arizona article is grossly inaccurate.

“The extra helipad will only be used should a surge of COVID-19 patients happen,” she said.

Presbyterian Hospital said the surge hasn’t occurred yet and the helicopter pad has not been activated.

In a new recent statement from Sunland Asphalt, they said they cannot comment on where patients will be coming from or where they will be treated.

“It appears that the information regarding supporting COVID-19 patients from northern Arizona and the Navajo Nation may not be accurate and/or were details that were perhaps shared prematurely without permission from APS and the City of Albuquerque. Our intent was not to provide misinformation to the media, but to do our part to help the community. On behalf of Sunland, we apologize for any misunderstandings or inconvenience this may have caused to our partners and the greater community.”

APS said they were asked to provide a space big enough for National Guard helicopters to land, but had not heard of any Arizona airlifts.

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