Third person tests positive for coronavirus in Taos County

Hospital updates preparations, challenges


A woman in her 50s is the third person in Taos County to test positive with COVID-19, the deadly disease caused by a novel coronavirus.  Hers was among 13 new positive cases announced by New Mexico authorities on Saturday (March 21), bringing the total to 57 in the state, including now one infant. 

The information from the state Department of Health did not indicate if the woman is a resident of Taos County or a visitor who was tested at a facility in the county. Of the other two cases, one was a visitor to Taos Ski Valley from out of town and the third is apparently a Taos County resident who has self-quarantined at home. A fourth person who tested positive with COVID-19 had been to the Nusenda branch in Taos but was from Albuquerque where  she was tested. 

Holy Cross Medical Center said in a statement later that only two of its patients tested positive, indicating the third positive case was from a sample taken at another Taos County health care facility. 

Bill Patten, CEO of Holy Cross Medical Center, said in an email notice Friday that they are waiting the results of 30 more tests. He noted that 95 percent of the tests from Taos County have been coming back negative for the virus.  

The hospital has ramped up efforts all week to prepare for more cases as have other health professionals in the region.  Patten detailed some of the efforts and challenges. 

A blood drive is scheduled Aprl 7 and April 21 at the LEA Building.

Patten noted in an emailed notice that the hospital is ordering more personal protective equipment such as masks. As of Friday (March 20), the hospital had 80 virus special collection kits and the state laboratory has confirmed more will be sent when the supplies are low. 

The hospital clinic practioners also have worked to limit elective surgeries for the time being and developed a method for which patients need to be seen immediately and which could be delayed or rescheduled until after the COVID-19 outbreak is contained in the county and state. 

The hospital has created a plastic enclosed two-bed quarantine ward devoted to COVID-19 patients  and have ordered two negative pressure units that will control air flow to the area.

The efforts are designed to protect patients who may have coronavirus, other patients and health care providers. 


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