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State requires fast reports from employers on COVID-19 cases

August 9, 2020 GMT

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico environmental regulators have ordered employers to promptly report coronavirus cases to the state.

An emergency rule issued by the Environmental Department requires employers to report positive COIVD-19 cases to the department within four hours of being notified of the case.

The department said the emergency rule will remain in effect for up to 120 days unless a permanent rule is adopted before the end of the 120 days.

“By requiring employers to report positive cases in a timely manner, the state will be able to more rapidly respond to workplaces, providing immediate guidance and support to employers and preventing the spread of COVID-19 beyond the infected employees,” the department said.

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However, the department said that in more than 280 instances, employers were aware of cases at least three days before the department learned of them, the Las Cruces Sun News reported.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

State health officials on Saturday reported 155 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases with six more deaths, increasing New Mexico’s case total to 22,115 with 681 deaths.

The Navajo Nation, which sprawls across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, reported Saturday that it had 36 new cases of coronavirus and two more deaths. The huge reservation has reported a total of 9,293 cases.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

According to data gathered by The Associated from Johns Hopkins University, the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Mexico dropped over the past two weeks, going from 289.29 new confirmed cases per day on July 24 to 197.86 new cases per day on Aug. 7.

The seven-day rolling average of 4.86 daily deaths in New Mexico did not change over the past two weeks as calculated on both July 24 and Aug. 7.