Corrales cases of COVID-19 have climbed ominously this month, reaching 74 as of November 15. The number rose from fewer than 60 in October to 63 cases as of November 10, and then up to 72 four days later. Statewide, the number of coronavirus cases reached 64,201 as of November 15, resulting in 1,215 deaths.
On November 14 alone, 1,180 new cases were reported. The state reached a record seven-day average of 1,170 new cases a day. In response, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered a strict lock-down of businesses for two weeks and ordered New Mexicans to stay at home except for essential outings. Hospital bed were reported filling up.
With Thanksgiving approaching, the governor urged New Mexicans to avoid family gatherings. “It’s not worth the risk,” she advised. Families that ignored that warning, it was suggested, might hold their following gathering at a loved one’s funeral. Corrales’ Emergency Medical director, Fire Department Commander Tanya Lattin, reported November 15 that “we currently have 74 cases, that is an increase of 33 cases in 31 days. “In the last 14 days, we have had 21 new cases with 11 in the last seven days. Sandoval County has had an increase of 1,362 in 31 days, 819 in 14 and 538 in seven days.
“I cannot confirm COVID deaths as they are not reported to me or anyone else in the Village; we only get the county death breakdown from the state.” Lattin said emergency medical calls to the Corrales Fire Department for critically ill patients continue to be transported to hospitals. “Our patients who need or want transport would still be transported but possibly not to their hospital of choice,” she explained, adding, “This is not new; it happens all the time in trauma cases.” Although the virus spread has been exponential in recent weeks, Lattin said Corrales first responders are sticking with earlier established protocols. “Nothing new in station’s protocols since March. We take the safety of the citizens and staff as the very most important thing we do.
“We handle every single call as a possible COVID-19 infection. We have N-95 masks which are standard on every call. We wear a cover over our N-95 so they stay cleaner and the cover mask is washed. Everyone also has access to full facemask P-100 or half-face with shield. They are mandated on any call that sounds like it could be respiratory in nature or may require aerosol generating procedures or COVID positive.
“Patients who can come out of their home are asked to do so. All patients are given a mask to wear. Dispatch also directs them to put a mask on before EMS arrives. On calls where COVID is a high probability, crew members must shower and wash clothes as soon as they are back at the station. We disinfect all equipment and bags after every call. The station is sanitized at least once daily.
“We currently have a good supply of PPE but I look for availability daily and order if it is available.” Lattin said access into the fire station is limited and must be approved by Fire Chief Anthony Martinez before anyone can come in. “On large calls or in the case of multiple calls at the same time, staff and volunteers respond and sign in after the emergency is mitigated. We have a health check and sign in for anyone entering the station.
“We have pulse oximeters for patients either COVID-positive or waiting for test results, if they contact us. We can also monitor pulse oximetry remotely if needed for patients if they or their physician requests it. I encourage everyone to think of your neighbors and your family. It takes us all following COVID safe practices to protect each other.”