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New Mexico extends virus reporting requirement for employers

December 5, 2020 GMT

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — ,New Mexico employers must continue reporting all positive COVID-19 cases among their workers to the state, the New Mexico Environment Department announced Friday.

The agency said it has adopted another emergency amendment to New Mexico’s workplace safety laws to extend the disclosure requirement, which was first implemented in August. Under the provision, employers have to notify the state within four hours of learning about a positive case.

The department is seeking to make the requirement permanent through a formal rule-making effort. A virtual public hearing is scheduled for Dec. 18.

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Environment officials say any violations of the reporting rule may result in enforcement action by the state.

New Mexico is dealing with a surge in coronavirus-related deaths, having marked a new record Thursday for the number of deaths — 44 — reported in a single day. Another 33 deaths were reported Friday, bringing that tally to more than 1,700.

Health officials on Friday reported an additional 2,080 confirmed cases, bringing New Mexico’s total to nearly 105,000 since the pandemic began. They had been warning that cases could go up over the next two weeks as a result of family gatherings over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Hospitalizations also remain high and demand for testing continues to increase.

The state Department of Health said it is expanding a partnership with Curative to expand testing locations in southeast New Mexico and the use of less invasive, oral fluid tests.