Watchlist: More than 700 rapid responses reported in New Mexico last week

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — KOB 4 gives daily updates on the number of COVID-19 cases in New Mexico. But you may be wondering where those cases are coming from?

The state uses "rapid responses" to monitor COVID-19 cases at workplaces around the state. If an employee tests positive, that starts a rapid response.

Last year, KOB 4 reported on restaurants being a hot spot but there’s been a shift with the new spike.

The current data is just a click away. The "watchlist" data is updated daily with locations around the state that have required two or more rapid responses in 14 days.

“Rapid responses are conducted in New Mexico workplaces when employees, generally, when staff test positive,” said Maddy Hayden, director of communication at the New Mexico Environment Department.

The Good Life Senior Living and Memory Care in Artesia has had six rapid responses and the Albertsons in Carlsbad has had seven.

“So for members of the public, I definitely encourage to stay up to date with that watchlist, because you could really use that as a tool to determine where you’re going and when,” Hayden said.

The New Mexico Environment Department handles a majority of the rapid responses.

“Basically what happens is that once the state is notified of a positive cases, we reach out to the employer and we start working with them to ensure that they are isolating the positive cases, quarantining close contacts, you know, stopping operations if they need to,” Hayden said.

Hayden said they experienced a low point in late June/early July with around 60 rapid responses total.

Last week, the number of rapid responses jumped to more than 700 – at the top of the list were health care establishments, followed by retail stores and then educational services.

“We’ll continue to monitor the trends with retail and see if there’s additional steps we can take to help them keep their numbers down,” Hayden said.

Hayden said if they identify an employee as a close contact of a positive case in the workplace and that person is vaccinated, they are not required to quarantine and can continue to work as long as they don’t develop symptoms.

To see the watchlist, click here.