The Taos Pueblo tribal government issued a health advisory on Friday (Nov. 13) urging its members to double down on social distancing and other precautionary measures after 13 people within the tribe tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
"This notice is to inform you that, just like the state of New Mexico and Taos County, Taos Pueblo is being impacted by the current surge in COVID-19 cases," the statement reads.
It noted that not all of the 13 positive members live on tribal lands. Thirty-five other people from the pueblo are in quarantine after "being in close contact with someone with a lab confirmed positive COVID test." Those members are being monitored.
"The virus is spreading rapidly in our state and our county, and we must stop the spread and minimize it within our Taos Pueblo community," the advisory read.
Anyone who is feeling ill is urged to self-quarantine immediately and to avoid contact with elderly individuals or other people who have conditions that make them especially vulnerable to the virus.
The pueblo government is asking its members to stop social gatherings with non-household members, including birthday parties and dinners with other families. Like the rest of New Mexico, the pueblo is promoting wearing a mask outside the home, practicing social distancing, limiting groups to less than 10 people and discouraging unnecessary travel outside the home.
Tribal members who have recently tested positive for the virus or have come into contact with someone who has can contact the Taos Pueblo Division of Health and Community Services for support.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in August that the novel coronavirus has had a disproportionate impact on American Indians throughout the United States, with a rate of infection 3.5 times higher than that of white Americans.
The spike in cases within the tribe coincides with a rapid rise in cases elsewhere throughout New Mexico this fall. On Thursday, the state reported 1,753 new cases, topping its previous record for most positives reported in a single day.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced at a press conference on Friday that the state would "reset" to its "most heightened level of statewide public health restrictions" beginning on Monday (Nov. 16). On-site dining will once again be prohibited and New Mexicans will be required to shelter in place, except for essential travel, through Nov. 30.