How COVID-19 response changed in New Mexico since 2020

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SANTA FE, N.M. – On Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth tested positive for COVID-19. He is isolating, and will continue to participate in the Legislature remotely.

But, it wasn’t too long ago that a positive case would have generated a much different response. It’s the same virus, but now the state responds much differently. 

“We’re in a much different place now than before, we know so much more about COVID than we did before,” said Dr. Laura Parajon, New Mexico Department of Health deputy secretary. 

With news of Wirth testing positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, it’s highlighting big changes since the very first case in 2020.

“Back in the day, you would have shut everything down. We’re in such a much different place in the pandemic than we were when it started,” said Parajon. 

COVID-19 is still out there. 

According to the most recent weekly report, it’s still infecting and hospitalizing New Mexicans, but Parajon says the state is in a much better place now.

“We have vaccines now, we have therapeutics if you test positive, and you’re at a high risk of COVID, you can get treated for it,” Parajon said. 

While the Department of Health still tracks and monitors trends over time, Parajon says it’s not the emergency it once was. 

Parajon says they are prepared to handle any future surges or mutations, now it’s about putting more on the plates of New Mexicans to manage their own health, and being proud of the work done to get New Mexico to this point.

“The message is still ‘Yes, COVID is not going away.’ We have the tools to either prevent or treat it, but we still need to be careful,” said Parajon.